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It’s difficult to quantify the scourge of land mines in Africa. Experts are reluctant to give statistics, but it’s safe to say there are single countries hosting millions of them. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines says land mines and related devices were responsible for 73,576 casualties worldwide from 1999 to 2009. Campaign data from 2007 say there were 5,426 recorded casualties, with almost a fifth of them in 24 African countries.

Death and injury, however, are only two ramifications of the buried terrors, said land mine expert Havard Bach, formerly of the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining. Unexploded ordnance renders roads, highways and enormous swaths of land useless, Bach said. Fear lingers for years after a single accident, holding back growth, movement, development and opportunities for commerce and aid.