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Last Updated: Monday, 29 September, 2003, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Landmine deaths on Greek border
Minefield warning
Landmines remain a problem in many countries
Seven illegal immigrants suspected to be from Pakistan were killed by landmines as they attempted to cross from Turkey into Greece on Monday.

The immigrants cut through a barbed wire fence after passing signs warning of a heavily mined field, an Greek army spokesman told AFP news agency.

They apparently crossed the Evros river in the Manitsa region about 50 kilometres (32 miles) from the Aegean Sea.

Minesweepers rushed to the scene after a border patrol heard a powerful explosion at 0910 local time (0610GMT), and they found dismembered corpses, the spokesman said.

The incident comes just days after Greece - which has planted mines along its border with its traditional rival Turkey - signed up to an international convention to stop using them.

The mines are blamed for causing dozens of deaths and injuries to migrants in recent years.

Dangerous routes

Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants try to enter Europe via Greece every year.

Earlier this month, more than 20 illegal immigrants thought to be mostly from Pakistan were found drowned on the banks of the Evros - also known as the Meric. It is thought their boat had capsized in the river.

Correspondents say most fatal accidents involving migrants occur in the Aegean Sea, as migrants try to sail from Turkey to Greece.

Turkey and Greece formally joined the international treaty banning land mines last week, but it is not clear when they would start removing mines.

Mines on the Greek side of the border are thought to have killed 40 illegal immigrants and wounded another 30 since 1996.

The mines were planted after 1974 when the two countries nearly went to war over Ankara's invasion of Cyprus.


SEE ALSO:
Illegal migrants die in river
10 Sep 03  |  Europe
World asylum figures tumble
02 Sep 03  |  In Depth
Mass arrest of South Asia 'illegals'
24 Jul 03  |  South Asia
Migrant headache dogs Italy
01 Jul 03  |  Europe
Turkey's booming people trade
05 Jun 02  |  Europe


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