Bosnia floods may have shifted bombs
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Floods in Bosnia displaced thousands this week as they washed away homes, crops, and bridges, and the torrents may have also swept loose a bigger concern: land mines planted during the Bosnian war.
Since the end of the war in 1995, authorities have done their best to clear away the estimated 1 million land mines planted by the conflicting sides — or at least to mark contaminated areas.
But “each time the water pulls back, the geography is changed a bit and if there were any mines there, they end up somewhere else,’’ Antun Sinkovic, a quality control officer of Bosnia’s Mine Action Center, said yesterday.
At the end of the 1992-95 war, the United Nations was forced to estimate the number of mines strewn throughout the country because the conflicting parties — Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks, or Bosnian Muslims — rarely kept records.
Under an international treaty, Bosnia was supposed to be mine-free by March 2009. Instead, Europe’s most mine-infested nation was given another decade to clear the estimated 220,000 remaining mines and other unexploded ordnance. Authorities in the Balkan country acknowledge that more than 963 square miles of territory is still riddled with mines.