As they combed through the red soil of Amee in Magwi county, Torit State this women are doing what many wouldn’t think of doing.
These four women who work for UNMAS are among the growing number of women to take up the risky business, most of them wanting to provide safety for their families.
Landmines have a long history in South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation that won independence from Sudan in 2011 after a long and violent liberation struggle. After just two years, a political squabble escalated into renewed civil war in late 2013, fracturing the new nation along ethnic lines.
More than four million mines and explosive devices have been found and destroyed in South Sudan over the last decade, says the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS). While some accidents are recorded, UNMAS believes that at least 90 percent go unreported.
According to UNMAS’s demining chief, Tim Lardner, it will take at least another 10 years to clear up the whole country that is roughly the size of France.
South Sudan signed the Mine Ban Treaty less than six months after independence in 2011, deeming anti-personnel mines illegal and their removal mandatory.
Renewed war has complicated efforts to remove mines from previous conflicts.