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Sci-Tech

These are the land mines buried in Angola

The buried explosives are the deadly remnants the country's 27-year civil war. Here’s what the mines look like.

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An exposed antitank land mine in one of Angola's minefields.

James Martin/CNET

How's this for terrifying?

In Angola, there's a type of land mine buried in the ground that jumps up from the dirt about chest high and sprays sharp metal fragments all around. It can kill someone within 65 feet of its radius.

It's called the PP-MISR, and it's only one of more than 70 types of land mines buried across the country. In late June, CNET traveled to Angola to witness the situation firsthand.

The mines are the deadly remnants of Angola's 27-year civil war, one of the longest in Africa. The war ended in 2002, but with the mines still there, the country remains paralyzed. Houses can't be built, fields can't be cultivated and villages can't be expanded.  

The explosives come in all shapes and sizes. Antitank mines, meant to destroy vehicles, are big and sturdy. Antipersonnel mines, which target people, are smaller and more sensitive. The mines buried in Angola come from at least 22 different countries, including Russia and the US.

In the words of Gerhard Zank, with the Halo Trust, a nongovernmental organization tasked with clearing the mines in Angola, it's like a "chocolate box."

There's the TM-62, an antitank mine that's shaped like a big, round disc. Then there's the Soviet-made PMD-6, a small wooden box with a hinged lid slightly ajar. Stepping on the lid activates the detonator.

Here's a gallery of a few of them.

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