Prince Harry praises work of Christian mission group during Africa visit

MAF Pilot Marijn Goud meets HRH Prince Harry during his visit to an active minefield being cleared by The HALO Trust(Photo: MAF)

Prince Harry has thanked Mission Aviation Fellowship for the role it is playing in helping to clear landmines left behind after years of brutal civil war in Angola.

For the last 25 years, MAF has been a partner of the HALO Trust, a charity supported by Prince Harry's late mother, Princess Diana.

Over the years, MAF has flown HALO Trust workers to some of the most isolated territories to remove dangerous landmines left over from 27 years of civil war. 

During his time in Africa, the Duke of Sussex visited Huambo, in central Angola, where in 1997 Princess Diana was famously photographed walking through a minefield.

She is credited with bringing international attention to the scourge of landmines and today, the place where she walked is now a flourshing community with homes, shops and paved roads. 

Following in his mother's footsteps, the Duke walked through an active minefield in Dirico, in the south of the country, and remotely detonated a landmine. 

He met MAF bush pilot Marijn Groud, who was providing flights for HALO staff around the Duke's visit. 

During their conversation, Prince Harry remarked, "HALO could not do it without you, thanks." 

Over the course of its longstanding partnership, MAF has provided transport logistics for HALO Trust team members and high profile supporters visiting landmine sites, and has arranged flights to remote communities for staff changes. 

The MAF aircraft is also on call around-the-clock for casualty evacuations. 

An estimated 10 million landmines were left scattered across Angola as a result of the civil war, a devastating conflict that lasted from 1975 to 2002 and left 1.5 million people dead. 

HALO has removed over 100,000 landmines to date but with many more still in the ground, the work continues.

Landmines cause devastating injuries to the body, in particular the feet and legs, and many of the victims are civilians. 

In addition to clearing landmines, HALO is working with the police and military to destroy thousands of weapons and ammunition left behind from the civil war.