Story By: Ana Lacasa, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A 12-year-old has had his right leg amputated after stepping on an anti-personnel mine in a Colombian cocaine field.
The boy, whose name was not revealed, was injured by an anti-personnel mine in the rural area of Tumaco, in the south-western Colombian department of Narino.
According to the police Captain Juan Pablo Gomez, a group of officers found the boy shortly after he stepped on the mine in a reportedly illegal crop of coca plants which he was harvesting.
Gomez said: “Once the boy was stabilised he was evacuated in a police helicopter.”
The Air Force explained that the boy was taken to the Fundacion Valle del Lili Hospital to be attended for his injuries.
The hospital later confirmed that the boy had suffered injuries to both his legs and that his right leg had been amputated under the knee. He is reportedly in a serious condition in the intensive care unit and will reportedly require a second operation soon.
Colombia’s Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez said: “It is terrifying that our children could suffer this kind of violence. Those anti-personnel mines were put down by former members of the FARC who withdrew from the peace process and are now working in drug trafficking.”
The office of the High Commissioner for Peace said: “We ask illegal armed groups to stop the use of anti-personnel mines in the whole Colombian territory.”
According to the Defence Ministry, since 2004 anti-personnel mines have affected 12,785 people in Colombia, among them citizens and also army officers, 3,431 of whom were killed and 9,354 were injured.
Tumaco is one of the most dangerous areas in the country as the dissidents of the terrorist group FARC, the guerrilla soldiers of the National Liberation Army and criminal gangs are reportedly vying for control of the crops and production of cocaine, drug trafficking and illegal mining.
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