3 years to clear 'Hill 500'

3 years to clear 'Hill 500'

Types of landmines are seen that have been found on Hill 500. TMAC
Types of landmines are seen that have been found on Hill 500. TMAC

A mission to clear landmines from a former battlefield in Ubon Ratchathani's Nam Yuen district, known as "Hill 500", is set to be complete within the next three years, according to Thailand Mines Action Centre (TMAC) of the Royal Thai Armed Forces.

So far, a total of 43.4 square kilometres in the area have reportedly been cleared of anti-personnel mines. The mission to do so has been undertaken by the Thailand Mines Action Center (TMAC) and the Thai Civilian Deminer Association (TCDA).

A large proportion of what's been left from wars has been cleared over the past several years, but TMAC director Lt Gen Sittipol Nimnuan said all the work is not yet done.

"There are a lot of landmines left in this area and they undermine the safety of villagers and disrupt their way of life," he told the media yesterday.

Lt Gen Sittipol said the work will need another three years to clear mines in 29.7 sq km of the area.

"This area is hard to access. It is in remote highlands where there is no road, phone signal or even water sources," he said. "Yet, we are set to clear the land and return it to villagers."

TMAC reportedly surveyed the area from June 16 to July 16.

Hill 500 is part of the Phanom Dong Rak mountain, where the demarcation lines of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia intersect. It became a battlefield over disputed territory 35 years ago.

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