Bosnia's Pokemon Go players urged to avoid wartime mine fields

A woman holds up her cellphone as she plays the Pokemon Go game in Lafayette Park in front of the White House.
A woman holds up her cellphone as she plays the Pokemon Go game in Lafayette Park in front of the White House.PHOTO: AFP

SARAJEVO (AFP) - People playing the wildly popular smartphone game Pokemon Go in Bosnia were urged on Tuesday (July 19) to avoid areas littered with unexploded mines left over from the 1990s conflict.

"Today, we received information that some users of the Pokemon Go app in Bosnia were going to places which are a risk for (unexploded) mines, in search of a pokemon," the NGO Posavina bez mina said on its Facebook page.

"Citizens are urged no to do so, to respect demarcation signs of dangerous mine fields and not to go into unknown areas," it added.

The new mobile app, which is based on a 1990s Nintendo game, has created a global frenzy as players roam the real world looking for cartoon monsters.

The game for mobile gadgets - which overlays cartoon monsters on real-world settings - has already been blamed for a wave of crimes, traffic violations and complaints in cities around the globe.

Bosnia is still infested with tens of thousands of mines planted during the 1992-1995 war.

Around 2.3 per cent of the former Yugoslav republic's territory is still believed to be covered with unexploded mines and similar explosive devices.

Some 550,000 people - 15 per cent of the population - live close to the areas believed to be contaminated.

Since the end of the war, landmine blasts have killed some 600 people and wounded more than 1,100.