Andy Smith
MIne-action specialist
 

Mined area Indicators – Angola: Mined area warning signs

 

 

Sheet 1     Formal warning signs

The clearest indication of a dangerous area is a sign with a skull and crossbones symbol. The picture shows the signs seen in Angola during 2000. Some are painted onto steel plate but most are printed onto plastic. The words vary but they all show a skull and crossbones symbol.

Some signs are cut in half or have holes made in them. This is to discourage their theft by souvenir hunters. As you travel in Angola you may see trucks with mine signs in their windscreen or attached to their radiator grille.

In some places, sticks painted red and white are used to show a surveyed mined area. These may have been eaten by termites, rotted or become overgrown, so they can be hard to see. Red painted sticks are also used by demining agencies as they work and should always be removed when an area has been cleared.

The resource is divided into "Scenes", usually with several associated photographs and explanatory text. Click on the Scene number to view it.

 

Sheet 2      Mined areas

The picture illustrates mined areas with and without warning signs.


A - The picture shows a path that is marked on maps as being a road. A truck detonated a large mine on it years ago and no vehicles have used it since. Local people still use it regularly and it has become a narrow path. The weight of a person is usually not enough to detonate a device designed to destroy vehicles.

Suggested message(s):

  • ·           Many mined areas are not marked at all.
  • ·           Do not drive on roads that have not been used by other vehicles recently.
  • ·           When there is a path, stay on it.

B - The picture shows a mined area alongside an agricultural area. A few village huts can be seen in the background. There is a mine warning sign on the left but it is in deep shadow and is hard to see. In rural areas, wood is widely used for cooking and trees around villages usually show signs of branches having been cut for firewood. When heavily overgrown areas lie adjacent to clear, treeless areas, this is a reliable sign that local people avoid the overgrown area for one reason or another.

Suggested message(s):

  • ·           Look for mine warning signs.
  • ·           Avoid overgrown areas close to where people live.

C - The picture shows a defensive minefield on a hillside outside a small town. The mine warning sign has been cut in half. The heavy undergrowth and the mango tree full of fruit are clues that the area is not used by the people who live nearby. There is some rubbish in the foreground. The edges of mined areas are often used as rubbish dumps.

Suggested message(s):

  • ·           Look for mine warning signs.
  • ·           Treat overgrown areas with suspicion.
  • ·           Fruit that is not collected may indicate that local people do not use the area.
  • ·           Trash is often thrown into the edges of mined areas.

 

D - The picture shows a conventional mine warning sign that has become so overgrown that it is very hard to see.

Suggested message(s):

  • ·           Even when mined areas are marked with signs, they may be hard to see.


E
- The picture shows a heavily overgrown tank. Other abandoned vehicles nearby have been stripped of parts and are not overgrown. Local people remember that there was an explosion when someone tried to get into this tank years before, so they avoid it. It may be booby-trapped and may contain unstable ammunition. 

The presence of human bones beneath the tank is another sign that it is avoided. Human remains are treated with respect and would usually have been buried.

Suggested message(s):

  • ·           The general public should always avoid abandoned or battle-damaged military equipment.
  • ·           If local people avoid something, you should also avoid it. 

 

 

Mined area
warning signs

 

Areas without
signs

 

Informal
warning
signs

 

Roads in
rural areas

 

 

Improvised devices
on roads

 

Surveyor's stick
scene

 

Fighter plane
scenario

 

Abandoned
grazing land

 

Tank Scene

 

 

Washout
Scene

 

Embankment
Scene

 

Destroyed
train

 

Abandoned
building

 

Transporter Scene

 

Angola bush
Scene

 

Power-line
Scene

 

Burnt-off
area

 

Trench
Scene

 

 

Angola
bush 2

 

OZM
Scene

 

Small
fuzes

 

 

How mines
age

 

Other common
AP mines

 

Other common
ordnance

 

Other common
indicators

 

Ammunition
dump

 

Mine
injuries

 

TEACHING
NOTES
*.doc

 

TEACHING
NOTES
*.pdf