YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A working group of the US Department of State Mine-Lifting Service led by US Embassy Military Attach Michael Sigler was on a two-day visit to the Siunik region of Armenia.
The group was accompanied by Armenia’s Defense Ministry officials. The group is said to have arrived in Armenia at the invitation of the Armenian government to explore the territories subject to mine clearing and assist in the related efforts of Armenian specialists also by way of making investment.
Local specialists managed to de-mine only the administrative territories of the Srashen and Nerkin And villages over the last five years–with around 300 hectares of borderline forests still to be cleared of mines. Land mines killed 26 and wounded 42 people in the period from 1994 to 1999.
Nine of the victims were children. Mines also killed 184 domestic animals and destroyed 23 agricultural vehicles and means of transportation. Besides–local residents come across mines and missiles in town of Kapan–which pose grave danger.
The earlier mined territories of the Sisian and Meghri regions have not been fully explored yet. Doubtful are regarded 726 hectares of territories in the villages of Brnakot–Salvard–Mutsk and Shaghat of the Sisin region and 107 hectares of the territories of the villages of Niuvadi–Karchevan–Kuris and Gudemnis of the Meghri region.
The group also visited the communities of Agarak–Tsav–Shikahogh–David-Bek and Shurnukh where they also met people who had suffered from mines.