Unexploded mines, grenades, shells, and other explosive devices can last for years – even decades – after armed conflicts come to an end. These dangerous remnants of war can inflict serious injury or death on civilians if they are not properly disposed of – a procedure which can only be done by technicians trained to render the explosive ordnance safe without putting additional lives at risk in the process.
Ethiopia has been contaminated with landmines due to conflicts dating back to the 1930s. Late last year, the ICRC, together with the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF), provided a one-month training on explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) to 22 technicians from ENDF's Combat Engineering Department.
"EOD is technically demanding and requires precision," said John Sorbo, the ICRC's regional weapon contamination manager. "There is no room for error. Any mistake could be fatal for the technician and anyone near the blast. Practical training is paramount, including detonation, so that EOD technicians can dispose of exploded ordnances safely and ultimately save lives."