Ver Angola

Defense

Authorities warn against unconscious harvesting of explosive devices to sell

Most teenagers and women are unconsciously collecting unexploded ordnance in the municipality of Caimbambo, Benguela province, to sell to factories dedicated to the sale of scrap metal, the local authorities said.

: Patrick Hurtig
Patrick Hurtig  

According to the chief of operations of the second special demining brigade of the Security House of the Presidency of the Republic, seconded in the municipality of Cubal, lieutenant Albertino Lucas Camacoca, some of these devices were collected in these factories.

"We were able to collect some explosive devices in those factories where they are exploring these irons throughout the municipality of Caimbambo and other municipalities," said Albertino Camacoca, in statements to the radio.

In turn, the person responsible for unexploded ordnance of the same brigade, aspiring Daniel Chongolola, stressed that he wants teenagers and women to collect whatever iron they find without distinction.

"Children and some moms only know that everything is iron, they cannot define which iron is dangerous," he said.

On the other hand, in the province of Cuando Cubango, people are detonating explosive devices with the aim of removing mercury to commercialize it.

The advisor to the president of the National Intersectorial Commission on Demining and Humanitarian Aid (CNIDAH), Adriano Gonçalves, said that there is no mercury in projectiles and other artifacts.

"Mercury is not part of the explosive material," Adriano Gonçalves told the radio, adding that in 2019 the country recorded about 50 accident victims in the country, most of them by unexploded ordnance.

"Children and women inadvertently used metals for domestic purposes, to be able to support the pots, to be able to sell, etc. and they had some accidents," he said.

The most recent case was registered in the municipality of .Rivungo, on the border with Namibia and Zambia, with the death of two people and an equal number of serious injuries, following the forced explosion of an 81 mm mortar, informed the municipal administrator. , Abílio Jornal.

"They found the bomb and made it explode with a hammer. The intention was to extract the mercury from the bombs and then be sold," he explained.

Angola still has vast areas of the territory contaminated by explosive devices, the result of three distinct phases of armed conflict, from 1961 to 2002.