Landmines laid near crash site

By TASNIM LOKMAN - 25 September 2014 @ 8:11 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: INVESTIGATORS and recovery teams are facing an increased risk, as reports emerge that the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash site has been planted with landmines.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar told the New Straits Times that despite the risk, the joint investigation team comprising of investigators from Malaysia, Australia and the Netherlands would be on high alert for any possibility to enter the crash site before winter.

“Fighting between the Ukrainian government and separatists in Donetsk happens almost every other day, making it dangerous for investigators and recovery teams.

“It is raining daily now in Ukraine, including at the crash site.

“We are still waiting for the slightest opportunity to enter, carry out our work and leave as winter approaches.”

Khalid said that the safety of the team is paramount.

He said in the event that the situation proved to be too risky, the team would have to postpone till spring next year.

“This is the joint decision made between the three countries.”

The Ukrainian government accused separatists of laying landmines on the roads leading to the crash site.

Khalid said that the mission involving the joint team would focus on two parts — the recovery of remains and personal belongings, and the gathering of evidence.

Khalid, who is currently in Kiev, said he was accessing the situation by the hour.

It has been understood that the officers and staff involved in MH17 Op included the Royal Malaysian Police’s Public Order Department head, Senior Assistant Commissioner Datuk Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid as the police delegation chief; disaster victims identification commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police Hussein Omar Khan, and communications adviser to the United Kingdom and communications officer in Ukraine, ACP Nik Aziz Nik Abdul Razak.