Prince Harry treads in Diana’s footsteps in Angola

Huambo, Angola: 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.
Princess 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 land mines 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 bullet-proof vest worn by his mother — detonated a mine in Luengue-Luiana National Park, 1,000 kilometres south-east 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. — AFP