Four children died and seven were injured when they accidentally set off a leftover explosive in the Uludere district of the southeastern province of Sirnak. There are many leftover explosives in the area that cause deaths and injuries.
Sezgin and Tanrikulu criticized newspaper reports that said the explosion was caused by "a land mine placed by Kurdish PKK/KADEK rebels". The two men emphasized it was impossible for the media to reach such information right after the explosion.
Aydin and Tanrikulu said occasional clashes took place in the region during 1988-1998 and that there were explosive devices left by the Turkish security forces and PKK/KADEK militants not only along the borders but also inside the borders.
Tanrikulu said a group, affiliated to the Diyarbakir bar, and fighting against land mines and explosives left over from the clashes in the region was investigating the situation. Lawyers from the group will conduct a research in the Andac village on Wednesday.
He added that the danger posed by the landmines and explosives in the region would increase as villagers return to their homes. Tanrikulu called on the people to be responsive.
Turkey signed the Ottawa Agreement
Aydin criticized the fact that Turkey does not have a landmine map. He said fertile land in the region could not be cultivated because of the mines and other explosives and underlined this was damaging Turkey's economy.
Aydin and Tanrikulu said Turkey, in September, signed the Ottawa Agreement about cleaning the landmines and called on the government and the people to act sensibly. Below are the statements by lawyers Tanrikulu and Aydin:
Tanrikulu: Children should be made aware
* Andac village is very close to the border. Occasional clashes that took place for ten years in the region and there are explosive devices and land mines along and inside the borders.
* People are aware of the landmines along the border but no one know about the landmines and other explosives inside the borders. Thus, they are not acting cautiously. The victims are, most of the time, the children.
* The people, and especially the children, should be made aware of the situation.
Aydin: Mortar danger
* Similar explosions are frequent in the region. Information on who left, dropped or placed the explosive is generally not found.
* Most of the time, landmines placed by state security forces around headquarters, police stations or rubbish dumps, cause the explosions.
* National newspapers said the latest explosion was caused by landmines. But local media said a mortar caused the explosion. Sometimes, the bullets do not explode. The security forces have to collect and destroy the unexploded bullets. But this is usually not done. Children find those bullets and pick them up to sell them to the junk dealers. The bullets explode and kill the children. (BB/EA/NM)
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