Home Malta Winds Prince Harry retraces Princess Diana’s footsteps in former Angola minefield

Prince Harry retraces Princess Diana’s footsteps in former Angola minefield


Britain’s Prince Harry on Friday paid an “emotional” visit to a street in Angola that was once a minefield visited by his mother Diana shortly before her death.

Diana walked across a cleared minefield near the central city of Huambo in 1997
to highlight the plight of a country that remains plagued by landmines 17 years
after the end of its civil war.

Just months
later Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris, when Harry was 12.

“It has been
emotional retracing my mother’s steps along this street 22 years on,” said
Harry, standing on Huambo’s now-paved Princess Diana Street.

“Being here
on this transformed and bustling street … shows the tremendous impact that
clearing landmines has on communities and their futures.”

Diana drew
attention to the more than one million landmines planted during Angola’s
27-year war, which started after independence from Portugal in 1975.

“There are
still more than 1,000 minefields in this beautiful country that remain to be
cleared,” said Harry, questioning whether “that could still be the case” if
Diana were alive.

“I’m pretty
sure she would have seen it through,” he added.

Earlier on
Friday, Harry – donning an almost exact replica of the protective visor and
bulletproof vest worn by his mother – detonated a mine in Luengue-Luiana National
Park, 1,000km (600 miles) southeast of Huambo.

The prince,
also known as the Duke of Sussex, spent the night in the park. He called on
Angolans to protect “the unique wildlife that relies on the beautiful Cuito
River that I slept beside”.

As a conservation
advocate, he touched on ongoing efforts to encourage the return of wild animals
killed by militia and landmines during the war.

“When this
great wilderness rebounds and the land is regenerated,” said Harry, “wildlife
can and will return to Angola.”

He added
that elephants would “be able to naturally migrate across borders”, easing
pressure on neighbouring countries.

Botswana –
which shares a border with Angola – is currently struggling with a large
elephant population.

Later on
Friday, Prince Harry visited a recently-renovated orthopaedic hospital in
Huambo named after his mother.

More than
1,600 people have been injured by landmines in Angola between the start of the
war in 1975 and 2015, according to British charity Halo Trust. Most casualties
occurred in 2002 and 2003, when Angolans returned to their homes after peace
was declared.

Diana was
famously photographed meeting some of the victims during her visit.

“If an
international ban on mines can be secured it means, looking far ahead, that the
world may be a safer place for this generation’s grandchildren,” said the
princess at the time.

Harry –
Diana’s second son and sixth in line to the British throne – is on a 10-day
tour of southern Africa, which he started in Cape Town with his wife Meghan,
the Duchess of Sussex, and four-month old son Archie.

The duchess
and Archie remained in South Africa while the Duke toured conservation and HIV
prevention projects around the region.

He visited
Botswana before Angola, and is expected to fly to Malawi on Saturday.

The family
will reunite in Johannesburg next week and complete the trip together before
flying back on October 2.

Prince Harry last travelled to Angola in 2013 to witness the clearing of a minefield organised by the Halo Trust, which was championed by Diana.

source: scmp.com

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