A strange find left a hiker and their friends shaken up after realizing the object they found on their hike could have potentially killed them. While hiking off-trail in Bosnia, a group of hikers discovered a strange-looking cylindrical white object with spikes on one end. They instinctively stayed away from it but later posted a photo on a subreddit dedicated to identifying weird objects.
“Object found while hiking off-road in Bosnia,” the hiker wrote. “Notice the spikes near the end! Wondering what it is.” The moderator of the page actually identified the object rather quickly. They commented that the hiker had found an unexploded landmine.
“If you’re unsure, the first thing to do is LEAVE IT ALONE. Do not shake it, attempt to open it, or disturb it at all,” wrote the moderator. “Next step would be to CONTACT THE PROPER AUTHORITIES. If you’re unsure who that is, call your local police or emergency number for instructions.”
One commenter on the Reddit post warned that hikers should never go off-trail in Bosnia because it is “full of unmarked minefields.” As a result of the Yugoslav Wars in the former Yugoslavia from the 1990s to early 2000s, there are still active minefields located within those countries. According to the Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Centre, the wars left over about 180,000 unexploded mines.
Hiker Stumbles Across Unexploded Mine in Bosnia: Why They’re Such A Big Issue
These minefields are problematic for hikers who like to wander off-trail, but they’re also a big issue for migrants coming to Bosnia and Herzegovina from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and the like. According to Relief Web, the so-called Balkan Route, which is a route through Turkey, Greece, North Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, and Hungary that many migrants use to reach Western Europe, is extremely dangerous. The International Organization for Migration even had to have training classes to help migrants stay safe.
“Very few migrants know that there are land mines in Bosnia and Herzegovina and, even if they are aware, they don’t know what to look for,” said certified instructor Rajko Živak in an IOM press release. This is true for a lot of hikers as well. Unless you have military experience, you usually don’t know how to spot landmines on sight.
“We’ve shown them what mines look like, how well hidden and sneaky they can be,” added fellow instructor Slađan Panić. “Most importantly, we’ve stressed that mines are a permanent danger even years after they have long been forgotten about.”
In this hiker’s experience, it looked like heavy rain dislodged the mine and washed it away from its original burial. The entire mine is exposed in the photo when usually they’re partially buried under grass and soil to camouflage them.