Please go to www.maginternational.org/blog
See you there!
Please go to www.maginternational.org/blog
See you there!
"Thanks for taking my photos in my shop as an example to tell others that we are living in danger," says shop owner Yasin Asyayr Gurase.
In his small store in Kalabyr, a village of about 1,500 people 100 kilometres south of Garowe in the Puntland State of Somalia, guns are stacked against shelves filled with shirts and shoes, and AK-47s rest against food products.
These weapons are not for sale. Rather, after a number of recent accidents in the village, they are being left in shops by owners wanting to keep them out of homes and away from children.
In one such tragic incident, a teenage boy shot and killed another while the pair were playing with their fathers’ weapons. In another case, a child pulled the trigger on the gun his father was carrying and killed him.
Almost every family owns a gun in Kalabyr. Though they are not needed in the village itself, which is generally peaceful, herding animals in the nearby countryside can be a perilous activity. The many herdsmen in this agriculturally dependent community will not venture outside the village without protection against rival clans and wild animals such as hyenas.
Kalabyr’s violent past means weapons are readily available, left over from the many armed conflicts between various militia groups in the area over the last 25 years. Prior to then, the village was affected by both the 1977-78 Ethiopia-Somalia war and 1982 the Ethiopian–Somali Border War.
Keeping the guns unguarded in shops is not a sustainable solution: “I am very worried about keeping guns in my store because they are dangerous,” says Yasin Asyayr Gurase, pictured at the top of this page.
"I keep them here only because there is nowhere else to store them. People can’t have them in their houses. I think customers may fear shopping here, especially women and children."
To address the problem, MAG is currently building an armoury for the community and the police to safely store their weapons. It will be located next to the police station at one of the entrances to the village.
"We will have one safe and secure place for the villagers’ weapons, as well as a safe place for ours," explains police chief Abdhul Gardir Elmi Mahmud.
"We will make this a gun-free village. If anyone wants to stay in the village they will need to hand in their weapon first. This will help us and keep us safe. People have been very worried so this is a very good thing."
MAG will also provide training to ensure the weapons are stored safely.
"We are happy you are building the store," says local resident Sahra Said Ahmed. "We will be able to keep the weapons safely. After the accidents, we didn’t know what to do. And after the safety messages [given by MAG] we were very concerned so we keep the guns in the shops."
She adds, “This is not the solution though. They are still dangerous and they are bad for business.”
Mohamed Abdi, who also lives in Kalabyr, says, “The store for the guns will help us a lot. People here are nomadic. When the rains come here many people will come to the village. They all have guns and sometimes accidents happen. Sometimes people argue. So it is good to lock the guns up when they are in the village.
"I am the son of a British soldier. I am 60 years old and have 11 children. Please tell your government that, and tell them thank you for helping us now."
MAG’s Community Liaison team in the area is also providing Mine Risk Education to guard against the potential threat that residents of Kalabyr may still face with unexploded ordnance and landmines. UXO and mines are rarely found these days, but there is always the possibility of people finding explosive items as they herd their animals in remote areas.
Children at a rubbish tip on the outskirts of the “Washington DC” camp for internally displaced perons (IDPs), located outside the town of Garowe, in Puntland State of Somalia. The IDP camp on the other side of the road is called “New York”.
More than 12,000 people live in camps outside Garowe. There are more than 149,000 IDPs in Puntland. Some come from southern Somalia, others have fled Al-Shabab in other parts of Puntland.
Harvesting cassava in Pailin, Cambodia, on land cleared by MAG
What percentage of Cambodia’s rural population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods?
The answer is here
MAG removed and destroyed more than 5,000 anti-personnel landmines in the country from July 2012 to June 2013.
Cluster bomb accident survivor, Iraq
This boy came across a BLU-97 cluster bomb in Sulimaniyah Governorate, Iraq.
It exploded when he accidentally knocked it as it lay amongst the grass.
For more on MAG’s work clearing landmines, cluster bombs and explosive weapons around the world, please go to www.maginternational.org.
October 4th is World Smile Day… have you seen better ones than these?
This photo was taken by MAG photographer Sean Sutton in Ikela town, Democratic Republic of Congo, in 2005. MAG was carrying out emergency clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance in the town at the time.
An estimated 68,000 people benefitted from MAG’s work in the Democratic Republic of Congo from July 2012 to May 2013.
For more about MAG’s work in the country, please see www.maginternational.org/drc.
Preventing accidental killings
A father and son in Kalabyr village, Puntland State of Somalia, look at a safety leaflet designed to help prevent deaths and injuries caused by landmines, unexploded bombs and gun-related accidents.
Villagers have been extremely concerned for their safety here. Most families have a gun that they need for protection when they are out herding their livestock.
But there have been a number of accidents involving guns in the village, including deaths when a 14-year-old boy shot a friend while playing, and when a child accidentally pulled the trigger of his father’s gun when he was holding it.
MAG Community Liaison staff have given ‘risk education’ to villagers – including the distribution of safety leaflets – to help minimise the threat from guns and explosive weapons.
Additionally, working with the community and the authorities, MAG is currently building an armoury for the police and for the villagers to safely store weapons.
For more on MAG’s lifesaving work in Puntland State of Somalia and around the world, go to www.maginternational.org.
Xieng Khouang province, Laos
All 17 of the country’s provinces and around a quarter of all villages remain affected by unexploded ordnance (UXO) – explosive weapons such as bombs, rockets, missiles, mortars and grenades that did not explode when they were used during the Vietnam War, and that still pose a risk of detonation.
Between 1999 and 2008, there were 2,184 casualties (including 834 deaths) from UXO incidents in Laos.
MAG is tackling the problem through our UXO clearance and education work - see the impact we’re having here: www.maginternational.org/laos
A deadly trade: scrap metal collectors in Vietnam
[Ben Village, Quang Binh province, Vietnam, 2007]
Scrap metal collecting is a relatively lucrative activity for those willing to risk their lives. People use primitive detectors like this to hunt for scrap: normally what they find is harmless, but there’s always the risk it could be a deadly bomb.