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Update: Green Line 09-March-2004

Greetings from Erbil

We're filming the work of a British NGO called Mines Advisory Group (MAG), which has been working here since 1992, and today went to check out some of their work to the south and west of Erbil, a town just north of Kirkuk. We visited a minefield site along the former "Green Line" between the northern region that was previously and pretty much still is controlled by Kurdish local government, and the government of Iraq. It contains Chinese-manufactured plastic mines laid in 1992 as well as some evil-looking Italian "bounding" mines and Iraqi copies of a Soviet mine, the PMN. Then we saw a site directly behind a row of houses at the back of a small village. There was a lot more civilian activity and they have instances of people fetching their goats from the minefield and apparently even picnicking?

Cluster Munition Strike Sites

We took a look at a fort that was heavily bombed by the coalition last year, in particular with cluster munitions (made by the US). If the cluster fails to explode upon hitting the ground, it in effect turns into a mine, a very lethal one. We saw more clusters at another strike site at Debaya, near where the convoy BBC reporter John Simpson was riding in was bombed accidentally by the coalition. The deminers had visually cleared the site and were today testing a "large loop" metal detector from Vietnam that is effective at finding metal a greater depth than normal detectors.

For more information, please check out:

Mines Advisory Group

BBC incident at Debaya