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Kosovo resumes clearing land mines

Visar Kryeziu /Associated Press

Some 4,500 mine fields were registered in 1999 after NATO’s 78-day bombing campaign that ended the war Kosovo.

HARILAC, Kosovo - Demining experts have resumed the slow process of clearing Kosovo of the many NATO cluster bombs and Serbian military land mines left behind from the 1998-99 war. Since the conflict ended, the hidden devices have killed 114 people and wounded more than 450.

Members of the Kosovo Security Force donned protective gear and visors Thursday to pick up where they left off last year after the first snowfall.

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In Kosovo, demining is suspended until spring approaches and the ground softens to resume scanning for explosives.

Some 4,500 mine fields were registered in 1999 following NATO’s 78-day bombing campaign that ended the war and stopped the brutal crackdown by Serb forces on ethnic Albanian separatists.

Master Sergeant Behxhet Kodra of Kosovo’s Security Force said the nation remains strewn with cluster bombs and land mines. “One cleared mine is one human life saved,’’ he said.

On Wednesday, the UN marked International Mine Awareness Day to highlight the dangers of explosive devices such as these that have been used in conflicts around the world.

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