As children return home to their villages in northern Iraq, they are expected to take a very important class. How they do in that class will determine if they live or die
No class in the world is as serious as the one offered to Iraqi schoolchildren returning to their liberated villages outside of Mosul. Teachers from the Mine Advisory Group (MAG) are educating kids on how to survive in a world where nearly everything is deadly.
The villages outside Mosul have been liberated but the occupying forces (ISIS) have left a ridiculous number of booby traps for people to trigger. A single home may have multiple traps, not just one or two..
The Mine Advisory Group is a non-governmental organization dedicated to mine removal. The group says they have never encountered an area so heavily mined and hazardous as what they’re seeing around Mosul.
Toys lie in the street, staked or taped off by experts. Children are taught not to touch any toy in the street because they are wired to bombs buried underneath.
Within homes, the only clue may be something out of place, or a wire left exposed.
Thousands of people are returning to this very dangerous region because they cannot afford rent where they are staying in other parts of Iraq. Yet they are warned, their houses have been turned into death traps.
Experts arrive quickly to defuse and remove traps, but some people do not recognize the traps before it’s too late.
Every day, new traps are discovered and added to the list of those that need to be defused. These are not the dangerous ones, the greatest danger lurks among the undiscovered ones. It is possible that people will encounter booby traps for years, possibly decades to come, depending on how much care was spent in placing them.
Fortunately, most traps were hastily placed, providing clues to wary villagers and experts. In other places, minesweepers can detect buried bombs and mines.
Children are given a special class upon return to the village, taught by ordinance experts. Because children can be careless, naďve or forgetful, they are exposed to the greatest danger. After two years living as refugees, some children might take delight in the fortune of finding an abandoned toy. The toy could even be their own, left behind over two years ago.
Several people have been killed and injured, and such incidents will only continue as people return to Mosul and the rest of the land occupied by ISIS. Fortunately, the classes will continue, and they will save many lives.
By Marshall Connolly