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Landmine Casualties Increased Sharply In 2015

Kurdish Peshmerga fighters detonate a landmine planted by the Islamic State (IS) group fighters on the outskirts of the village of Sinoni in the northern Iraqi district of Sinjar (file: January 15, 2015)

The number of casualties from landmines and similar explosives rose sharply last year to the highest level in a decade, a monitoring group said in a report issued on November 22.

The International Campaign To Ban Landmines (ICBL) recorded 6,461 deaths or injuries from mines and unexploded bombs in 2015, a 75 percent increase from the previous year.

The group blamed the sharp increase mainly on conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen.

The ICBL said that availability of data on casualties was also a factor in the rise.

"The decade-high number of new casualties caused by land mines and unexploded ordnance, and the continued suffering of civilians, more than a third of whom were children, proves again that these indiscriminate weapons should never be used by anyone," Loren Persi Vicentic, one of the editors of the report said.

The highest number of casualties was recorded in Afghanistan with 1,310 people killed or wounded -- though that number was similar to 2014.

Based on reporting by AFP and DPA