updated 3/28/2006 9:51:27 PM ET 2006-03-29T02:51:27

An estimated 7 million land mines are still hidden in unmarked minefields across Angola, four years after a protracted civil war ended, a government official said Tuesday.

Up to the end of last year, authorities and non-governmental associations had cleared about 56,000 anti-personnel mines, 8,500 anti-tank mines and 1.4 million pieces of unexploded ordnance, Social Affairs Minister Joao Baptista Kossuma said.

The government is preparing a two-year program to clear mines from farming areas, Baptista Kossuma told a de-mining seminar.

Angola is one of the world's most mined countries, according to the United Nations.

The Southwest African country spent most of four decades at war, starting in 1961 with its fight for independence from Portugal. After independence in 1975, the Marxist government battled against rebels headed by Jonas Savimbi who was killed by the army in 2002.

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