Landmines Hinder Return of Displaced to Ramadi

By Mustafa Saadoun for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Samira Ayyash and her family are refusing to return to Ramadi in Anbar province after having fled to the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Ayyash fears that she and her two sons and daughter could fall victim to a landmine or bomb in the Ramadi streets or inside their house, which they deserted June 8, 2015, to escape the oppression of the Islamic State (IS).

Ayyash told Al-Monitor, “Returning to Ramadi right now is impossible as long as the city is not clear of landmines. Our neighbors and friends who are currently in Ramadi tell us that there is a major threat to civilians from landmines, and this is worrying. We fled death when IS controlled Ramadi; we cannot risk our lives again. We will stay in Baghdad so as not to fall victim to a landmine or bomb.”

According to the estimates of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, Ramadi is the city with the most landmines in the world, and most of the city neighborhoods are unsafe because of these explosives.

Lisa Grande, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, said in a statement after visiting Ramadi March 24 that civilians risk their lives in the city because of landmines and booby-traps everywhere.

She said that the Iraqi government should make clearing landmines its top priority to ensure the security of the civilians living in the city, because Ramadi is unsafe for the displaced to return and it is difficult to ensure their safety there.

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