Two UN employees killed by landmine in Iraq

Third person injured as group was working at explosive ordnance clearance site near Basra

Women participate in efforts to clear landmines in Basra, Iraq March 27, 2021. Picture taken March 27, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammed Aty. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
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Two Iraqi UN employees were killed and a third person injured in an accident on Monday near the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

The staff members were part of a team working for the UN's Mine Action Service (Unmas) at an explosive ordnance clearance site at the Shatt al Arab port.

“The incident occurred in the early morning at the site managed by Al Khebra Al Fania, which is one of Unmas Iraq’s implementing partners," the UN agency in Iraq said in a statement.

The injured person was reported to be in stable condition in hospital, the statement said.

It is the first incident reported in Iraq this year in which UN staff have either been killed or injured.

Unmas said it was working closely with the Iraqi Directorate for Mine Action to investigate and review the latest incident.

The aim was "to understand if any conditions can be addressed and precautions implemented to reduce the risk of such incidents in the future", the statement said.

Akaf has been a partner of Unmas for the past two years and cleared hundreds of items of explosive ordnance in the Shatt al Arab area.

"The clearance operations are essential for the safety of impacted communities and safe access to land for agricultural activities and development," said the statement.

UN agency staff in Iraq said they expressed their "deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and wish the injured person a speedy recovery".

Last year, 52 people were killed in Iraq by the remnants of war.

Updated: October 24, 2022, 5:39 PM