Toll from Guinea-Bissau mine blast rises to 22

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BISAAU, Guinea-Bissau (AP) — Two more people who were wounded when a minibus struck a land mine in Guinea-Bissau have died, a doctor said Monday, raising the death toll in the accident to 22.

The bus was travelling in the country's north on Friday when it was completely destroyed by the mine. The blast was so strong most victims were unrecognizable to their relatives. Alberto Malo, a doctor at the hospital where several victims were brought, confirmed Monday that two more people succumbed to their wounds.

The mine appears to date to the country's fight for independence from Portugal. The blast has raised questions in Guinea-Bissau, which had declared itself free of all known land mines after demining operations.

But Cesar de Carvalho, the director of country's center for coordinating demining, said the area where the mine went off was not part of the program since it was not the site of intensive fighting.

Since independence in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has been roiled by coups and instability and no president has ever finished his term in office. It is now trying to get back on course, and held a peaceful presidential election in May.

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