The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) cites Africa as the continent with the largest number of conflicts. In such countries as the Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Zimbabwe and Angola, the 2003 Landmine Monitor reports widespread landmine use by non-state actors (NSAs), each seeking a myriad of political aims from recognition by the international community to government overthrow to political agitation through terrorism. The majority of NSAs involved in conflicts with internationally recognized governments on the African continent have rarely disclosed their political agendas nor have they outlined how their political agendas differ from those of the very governments against which they are fighting. Those issues that address the importation of landmines and other small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) and their use by soldiers of NSAS—who increasingly are adolescents—begin to clarify how mine action can assuage the conflict engulfing the majority of the continent. Rather than an isolated situation, landmines are intricately linked to those actors supplying state governments and NSAs and the individuals employing them. Yet the political and economic upshots of landmines are very real and are the products of many factors, including the SA/LW trade and the use of child soldiers by both NSAs and state governments.



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