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NPA finds cluster bomb first day at work in Serbia

On their first working day in Serbia clearing unexploded cluster sub-munitions the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) team found an unexploded cluster bomb of the type BLU-97/AB.

The operation in Serbia started on April 29 when the Serbian Mine Action Centre issued Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) accreditation for conducting clearance of unexploded cluster sub-munitions in the Republic of Serbia, and officially introduced the NPA team to the first task in the municipality of Presevo in south Serbia.

The first task area, the village of Bustranje, inhabits 900 people. Two accidents and several incidents have taken place in the village, where local inhabitants have activated unexploded cluster sub-munitions. One single accident involved four village boys who activated a cluster bomb of the type BLU-97/AB resulting in death of one of them, severe injuries of another and lighter injuries of two children. Another accident involved a farmer who activated a BLU-97/AB while ploughing and he suffered severe injuries. On several occasions local farmers found unexploded sub-munitions while farming.

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has donated 27,860,000 Norwegian kroner for clearance of unexploded cluster sub-munitions in south Serbia as part of the bilateral co-operation between Norway and Serbia. NPA is implementing the clearance programme.  NPA has employed 34 local staff of whom 31 operational and will during the next three years release land in this region of cluster sub-munitions hazard.

In accordance with the non-technical survey conducted previously by the NPA surveyors seconded to the Serbian Mine Action Centre, hazardous areas in south Serbia cover 4.3 million square metres in three municipalities, which presents almost one third of the entire problem in the country.

After clearance, the land will be used for farming and cattle grazing.

01.10.2012 | Tine Solberg Johansen