CBRNe Country Profile: Colombia

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The South American republic of Colombia boasts a picturesque and a versatile landscape. However, the rich topsoil of its fertile rural landscape conceals a shocking reality – the second highest number of anti-personnel mines in the world. It is roughly estimated that more than 11,500 mines were laid here in the past quarter century, with Colombia only surpassed by Afghanistan ravaged by protracted wars.

Colombia’s mine contamination is largely a result of decades of a conflict with non-state armed groups, notably the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) or the National Liberation Army (ELN). The country saw heavy, systematic use of landmines since at least the 1990s. Even though Colombia’s civil war started in the mid-1960s and grew in intensity, it remained considered a “low-intensity asymmetric war.” This characteristic constitutes the ideal condition for the use of concealed or dormant munitions, …

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