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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action Programs: Africa


To Walk the Earth in Safety: The U.S. Commitment to Humanitarian Mine Action
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
August 2004
Report
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AFRICA

ANGOLA

Flag of AngolaThe Landmine Problem

More than three decades of internal conflict left Angola with one of the world's most serious landmine problems. No comprehensive national mine survey exists, so the actual number of landmines in the country is unknown. The humanitarian demining organization, Menschen gegen Minen (MgM), estimates the true quantity of mines is probably in the hundreds of thousands, rather than millions. Large quantities of unexploded ordnance (UXO) also are present. Eight of Angola's 18 provinces are heavily mined, including Moxico, Malange, Kuando-Kubago and Bie, covering nearly 50 percent of the country in a band from the northwest border with the Congo to the southeast border with Namibia. Combatants planted these mines to destroy or deny access to Angola's infrastructure. Landmines pose a critical obstacle to freedom of movement and to restarting Angola's domestic food production. Mines are concentrated around roads, railways, bridges and public facilities, such as schools, churches, water supply points and health care facilities, as well as near some provincial capitals, military facilities, footpaths and fields. These mines hinder humanitarian aid, economic reconstruction and the resettlement of millions of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Landmines affect a large portion of the population, with 80,000 amputees and an ever-expanding number of victims under the age of 15.

United States Assistance

Since Fiscal Year (FY) 1995, the United States contributed $38,000,000 in humanitarian mine action assistance to Angola, still provided exclusively through non-governmental organizations (NGOs), primarily to facilitate IDP and refugee resettlement and for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The Department of Defense Humanitarian Assistance Program has provided excess equipment to supplement the mine detectors, vehicles and safety and communications equipment previously purchased with U.S. funds. Approximately one in 334 Angolans is an amputee mine survivor, and the United States has funded programs to assist them. Since 1996, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided more than $5,900,000 to a Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation program to render rehabilitation and social and economic reintegration to those with mobility needs in Angola's isolated eastern regions. Through a rehabilitation center and fully functioning orthopedic workshop located in war-torn Moxico Province, the program has repaired more than 350 prostheses and orthoses, produced and delivered 1,800 mobility aids and provided 6,000 physiotherapy interventions.

In FY03, the United States allocated approximately $4,000,000 in financial assistance to Angola. These funds include $500,000 to the LWVF; $1,320,000 to The Hazardous Area Life-Support Organization Trust to continue clearance operations in Bie and Huambo Provinces; $980,000 and $705,000 to Norwegian People's Aid and MgM, respectively; and $395,000 to Mines Advisory Group (MAG) for the Eastern Angola Road Access Project. These NGO demining efforts provided for the resettlement of IDPs; increased agricultural land for subsistence farming; allowed access to water and firewood for the resident civilian population; and opened roads and rural areas to provide access routes for humanitarian relief.

Accomplishments

U.S. humanitarian mine action assistance has augmented that of other donor nations and NGOs so that Angola could train and equip more than 800 deminers, medical technicians, and supervisors; return thousands of refugees and IDPs to Angola's central highlands—a high-priority area for government and international community resettlement programs; and provide prosthetics and training in their use to thousands of landmine survivors.

With U.S. and international support, Angola continues to make progress in eliminating landmines, a major hindrance to the implementation of humanitarian aidprograms, economic reconstruction, and internal movement and resettlement in those areas of the country that are relatively free from conflict. Following 2002 demining operations in the Province of Moxico, a water pumping station is again operational, providing Luena's population of more than 120,000 residents with access to potable water. In Huila Province, mine clearance allowed for the construction of a surgery room in Mavinga Hospital, and allowed the safe return of more than 1,000 IDPs to their homes in Cussava along the Dongo-Cussava Road. Between 1995 and the end of 2003, more than 319,000 landmines and more than 88,500 pieces of UXO have been destroyed, and almost 13,000,000 square meters of land rendered mine-safe.

AFRICA

CHAD

Flag of ChadThe Landmine Problem

As a result of 37 years of invasion and rebellion, Chad suffers a severe landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) problem. Libya's occupation of the northern half of the country in the 1980s resulted in large (2-60 kilometers long) defensive minefields around all the population centers of Chad's desert. Rebellions in the south, east and west also left a large number of small, nuisance minefields and thousands of tons of UXO spread throughout many regions. At the end of these conflicts, the country had an estimated 500,000 landmines. A Landmine Impact Survey, funded by the United States and the United Kingdom, and implemented by the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Survey Action Center and Handicap International France, that was completed in May 2001, identified the presence of landmines and UXO in 249 localities and determined that the most severely affected areas are in the north and east of the country. UXO, estimated to have contaminated almost 7.9 million square meters of land, is found in and around homes, schools, former ammunition storage areas and abandoned combat vehicles. The population in the vicinity of military firing ranges is in particular danger. UXO also blocks nomadic herders from access to water and agricultural land, while livestock are poisoned by toxins leached into the soil from UXO, or by licking UXO in an effort to increase salt intake.

United States Assistance

A U.S. Department of State-U.S. Department of Defense Program Management Assessment Team examines unexploded ordnance around a minefield clearance project in Chad.The United States has contributed more than $5,420,000 to Chad's humanitarian mine action program since it began in 1998, to help renovate Chad's National Demining Office building, establish a national mine action center and create a database identifying the location of minefields.

In FY03, the U.S. Department of State allocated $500,000 of financial assistance to Chad's mine action program. These funds, in addition to the United States' FY02 contribution of $350,000, continued to provide the National High Commission for Demining with an emergency medical air evacuation capability from remote field operations to N'djamena, the location of the only hospital in the country capable of performing life-saving surgery. Without this medical evacuation capability, Chad's demining operations would have been forced to shut down. Additionally, in 2003, the Department of Defense conducted humanitarian mine action training for the first time since 1999, focusing on areas requested by the National High Commission for Demining: UXO specialist training, mine risk education, national demining office management skills and computer maintenance.

Accomplishments

The United States played a key role in launching Chad's mine action program in January 1998. U.S. military personnel trained a cadre of Chadian deminers who were capable of independently training personnel in humanitarian mine action techniques and procedures. The United States also provided necessary demining equipment. Since the start of actual demining in September 2000, progress has been made in reducing deaths and injuries, and reopening access to cropland, water and housing.

After 18 years of blockage due to mine and UXO infestation, mine clearance operations reopened the traditional route of villagers, camel herders, merchants, and traders into northern Faya, significantly easing and securing the life of the locals. The reopening of the road south of Faya to the capital has enhanced the life of the local residents by improving communications with the capital and the rest of Central and West Africa. In Moyto, land was opened to agriculture. In Massenya, UXO removal allowed the airport to reopen. The demining of Ounianga-Kebir opened it for future tourism and trade. Continued U.S. humanitarian mine action assistance will enable the Government of Chad to demine its northern provinces and to benefit from economic and social development in those regions.

Since June 2002, U.S.-trained Chadian deminers cleared more than 2.2 million square meters of land and, in the process, destroyed approximately 6,206 landmines and more than 16,838 metric tons of UXO. Demining operations are currently underway in Ounianga-Kebir and Fada, on the Fada-Kiko road, and in Biltine. Deminers are also destroying thousands of serviceable landmines half-buried in abandoned Libyan ammunition dumps.

AFRICA

DJIBOUTI

Flag of DjiboutiThe Landmine Problem

Djibouti declared itself safe from the humanitarian impact of landmines on January 29, 2004, and subsequently graduated from the U.S. Humanitarian Mine Action Program. This report chronicles the period up to 2003 before Djibouti achieved this success, the first such accomplishment in any African mine-affected nation. Djibouti had a small landmine problem from an internal conflict in 1991-1994 between the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD) and the Government of Djibouti (GoD). The exact number of landmines and the areas of their concentration were not known. A small unexploded ordnance (UXO) threat also existed. According to figures provided by the Djiboutian military, landmines killed 31 and injured 90 people between 1997 and early 2000. However, only one landmine incident was reported after the peace agreement between the Djiboutian government and the FRUD was signed in February 2000. In 2001, a landmine blew up a military vehicle in Obok, killing one soldier and injuring four others.

A U.S. Marine Corps Djibouti's northern plateau, the most heavily contested area during the civil war, contained most of the suspected minefields or mined routes, particularly in the districts of Obok and Tadjoura, north of Djibouti City. In the town of Obok, the Djibouti army laid mines to protect an army camp and key installations. FRUD forces reportedly also mined these areas as well as access roads out of Obok and sites near the village of Andoli. A section of road leading south from the town of Ali Sabieh to the border was also mined. Deminers conducted a Landmine Impact Survey in these areas in September 2001 to determine the extent of the landmine and UXO problem.

United States Assistance

Since Fiscal Year (FY) 1999, the United States has provided Djibouti with $3,000,000 for humanitarian mine action. In FY03, the United States allocated $250,000 for mine clearance, training and equipment for Djibouti.

Accomplishments

U.S. Marine Corps personnel trained the first cadre of 35 Djiboutian deminers in 2001. With U.S. assistance, the GoD outfitted a mine action center, refurbished the facilities for demining training and took delivery of an initial complement of vehicles, including ambulances, for transporting deminers and mine survivors. From October 2002 through March 2003, Djiboutian demining teams destroyed more than 341 landmines and cleared more than 13,800 square meters of land that have been returned to productive use. This demining effort has been especially important to economic development and the alleviation of impoverishment in the north of the country. As a result, Djibouti became the first mine-affected nation in Africa to declare itself "mine-safe," on schedule in January 2004.

AFRICA

ERITREA

Flag of EritreaThe Landmine Problem

30 years of civil strife and the war with Ethiopia between 1998-2000 left Eritrea with a severe landmine problem and an estimated 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). The National Demining Center in Asmara estimated that some 2,000,000 to 2,500,000 mines and an equal quantity of unexploded ordnance (UXO) infest the country. Since 1995, the Eritrean Historical Research Department has identified more than 100 minefields in 38 villages. Ten of the 11 major battle sites believed to contain mines are in the northern and northwestern provinces; the 11th is in a southeast province. The majority of landmines are around the cities of Keren, Nafka and Asha Golgol. Combatants used landmines to defend strongholds around cities and populated areas, military camps and roadways. Landmines are also found in rural farmlands, near water sources and along the borders.

The landmines, many located in populated areas, routinely inflict casualties on people and animals and present major problems to Eritrea's reconstruction, rehabilitation and development efforts. Landmines in the Temporary Security Zone still pose a major danger to IDPs now returning to their homes.

United States Assistance

The modern mine detecting dog kennels at Ashagolgol provided to Eritrea by the United States.  Local building materials were used.Since FY94, Eritrea has received more than $12,068,000 in U.S. humanitarian mine action assistance. The funds have paid for the establishment of a national demining headquarters in Keren, renovation of two regional demining headquarters, training of several 80-man companies of deminers and medical personnel, the shipment of 60 U.S. 4x4 vehicles to transport demining teams and establishment of a Mine Detecting Dog (MDD) capability, to include a modern, hygienic kennel to support national demining objectives.

In FY03, the United States allocated $2,400,000 in funds for demining and mine risk education in Eritrea.

Accomplishments

Since 1996, Eritrean demining units, trained by U.S. military personnel, have cleared significant amounts of land for farming, grazing, road building, utility projects and harvesting natural resources. During the 1998-2000 war, one company of deminers removed or destroyed more than 1,600 mines and 4,000 UXO items, opening 1,650,000 square meters of land and 110 kilometers of road. Hundreds of thousands of Eritrean refugees returned from Sudan and resettled the cleared land. It is noteworthy that the demining companies had not suffered a single serious injury through 2003, and mine risk education programs have reduced civilian casualty rates dramatically. Additionally, eight teams of MDDs and their handlers began mine clearance operations in late summer 2001. From October 2002 through August 2003, more than 1,928,000 square meters of land had been cleared. Mine clearance operations have cleared land near the town of Tserona, an area in close proximity to 11 small villages with six schools and a population of 3,613. The cleared land is now used for agricultural production and grazing livestock. The successes of the Eritrean humanitarian mine action program are making a vital contribution to the country's continued economic growth.

AFRICA

ETHIOPIA

Flag of EthiopiaThe Landmine Problem

The Government of Ethiopia's Mine Action Office estimated that up to 2,000,000 landmines, as well as a large quantity of unexploded ordnance (UXO), litter its territory, threatening every province, particularly Tigray. Prior to the border war with Eritrea in 1998-2000, the Ethiopian Demining Headquarters identified 97 minefields in three regions of the country where it was operating. Many of the mines and minefields are near populated areas in which both people and livestock have become casualties. Flooding and erosion cause landmines to migrate, exacerbating the problem. The greatest danger to people and livestock comes from UXO, rather than landmines, because the minefield locations are fairly well known, but the UXO is randomly distributed.

United States Assistance

In FY93, the United States began funding humanitarian mine action in Ethiopia and has provided about $12,000,000 to the program through FY03. In FY03, the U.S. Department of State allocated $300,000 for humanitarian mine action in Ethiopia.

Accomplishments

Since the beginning of the program, the U.S. military's "Train-the-Trainer" programs yielded a total of 340 Ethiopian deminers who are, in turn, capable of training additional Ethiopian deminers to International Mine Action Standards. From 1995 until the resumption of hostilities with Eritrea in 1998, these deminers destroyed more than 68,000 landmines and more than 364,000 pieces of UXO. After the cessation of hostilities, deminers and combat engineers cleared an additional 203,011 anti-personnel landmines and 10,319 anti-tank mines. As a result of demining operations from May 2, 2002 through May 3, 2003, 1,847,510 square meters of land were cleared, and a total of 379 landmines and 481 pieces of UXO were destroyed. The people of Ethiopia are now using the cleared land for farming, grazing, electric power and telecommunications projects, road construction, development of natural resources, such as mining and drilling, and resettlement of refugees in more than 170 villages. Initial survey work has resulted in more than a 90-percent reduction of targeted areas, from 134,072,743 square meters to 12,312,725 square meters, in effect returning previously suspect land to use. Mine risk education has played a significant role in the dramatic reduction of civilian casualties.

Since 1993, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has funded the Prosthetic Orthotic Training Center in Addis Ababa. This center has provided training in the manufacture and use of prosthetic components to more than 100 technicians from 28 countries, and produced thousands of prostheses, orthoses and crutches. Additionally, under USAID's Leahy War Victims Fund Omega Initiative, a four-year, $2,452,154 subgrant was awarded to build capacity and strengthen the provision of rehabilitation services at the Dessie Orthopedic Center; improve accessibility to rehabilitation services in Bahir Dar; increase the availability of wheelchairs in the region; and improve access to social and economic opportunities for people with disabilities.

AFRICA

GUINEA-BISSAU

Flag of Guinea-BissauThe Landmine Problem

Guinea-Bissau was affected by an estimated 16,000-20,000 persistent landmines. Some mines date from the 1962-1974 colonial war of liberation, but the majority are attributed to the 1998-99 military mutiny. Minefields infested approximately 30 square kilometers of land, most of it close to populous areas in Central Bissau and its environs. In addition, unexploded ordnance (UXO), much of it exposed to the weather and in a deteriorated condition, is scattered throughout populated and agricultural areas. The mines and UXO represent a persistent danger to the civilian population and a hindrance to the resumption of normal commercial activity.

Deminers from the NGO Humanitarian Aid ,HUMAID, and officers from Guinea-Bissau's armed forces observe a pile of unexploded ordnance carefully gathered for safe destruction. (Photo courtesy of HUMAID)United States Assistance

Since the program's inception in 2000, the United States has provided over $813,000 in humanitarian mine action assistance. In FY03, the United States contributed $225,000 to Guinea-Bissau's demining operations through Humanitarian Aid (HUMAID), a local non-governmental organization.

Accomplishments

Since January 2000, deminers from HUMAID have cleared 355,886 square meters of land and destroyed more than 3,300 mines and more than 26,000 pieces of UXO. Because of these efforts, people are able to build homes on safe land, schools have begun operating again and agricultural land has been cultivated for crops, such as manioc, beans and cashews.

AFRICA

MAURITANIA

Flag of MauritaniaThe Landmine Problem

An estimated 50,000-100,000 landmines remain in Mauritania from the war in the Western Sahara. The majority of these mines are on the Cap Blanc Peninsula. Others are at B�r Mogre�n, A�n Bin Tili and around Zouirat. On most occasions, combatants laid mines without regard to future mine clearance requirements. Shifting of dunes, instability of the soils, absence of natural barriers and the lack of reliable maps present huge obstacles to locating and neutralizing landmines. The remaining landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) in northern Mauritania continue to hinder economic development. Although landmine casualties are not extensive, Mauritanian military personnel and civilians have suffered injuries.

United States Assistance

Mauritanian deminers setting up a minefield training site in Nouadhibou during a U.S. Department of State-U.S. Department of Defense Program Management Assessment Visit in 2001.  (Photo courtesy of Deborah Netland, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement)From FY99 through FY03, the United States provided over $5,000,000 to the country's mine action program,including $595,000 in FY03. Over the years, United States assistance enabled the construction of a regional demining base in the northern town of Nouadhibou; establishment of a long-range radio communications system to facilitate mine action; a mine risk education campaign; training of deminers; construction of a building to be used as a demining school; establishment of a National Demining Office; and provision of vehicles and demining equipment—all with the objective of creating an indigenous humanitarian mine action capability.

Accomplishments

Mauritania has experienced a significant reduction in landmine casualties since the inception of the U.S.-supported humanitarian mine action program. Between 1978 and 1999, on average, the country suffered about 28 landmine casualties a year; in 2000, only two; in 2001, just one. Through a mine risk education program, 30,000 booklets were distributed to schools in the north. Under the U.S. "Train-the-Trainer" program, U.S. military personnel trained 52 Mauritanian military deminers to International Mine Action Standards. In 2003, U.S. Army trainers conducted additional courses in demining, technical survey, UXO disposal and mine risk education.

AFRICA

MOZAMBIQUE

Flag of MozambiqueThe Landmine Problem

Twenty-six years of conflict, including a war for independence and then civil war, left Mozambique littered with landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). Although landmines are found in all of Mozambique's provinces, the most heavily mined regions are in the north, along the Zimbabwean border, and in Zambezia, Tete, Maputo and Inhambane Provinces.

Two typhoons struck Mozambique early in 2000, and subsequent heavy flooding displaced many landmines. At the request of the Mozambique National Demining Institute (IND), the Department of State used some of the $3,800,000 in FY00 assistance to Mozambique to fund a U.S. contractor to address the problem. Under IND direction, the contractor conducted high-priority demining of the most dangerous threats.

While significant progress has been made in clearing landmines and UXO and reducing casualties, a number of these remaining devices continue to injure people, inhibit refugee resettlement and hinder economic development, preventing the rehabilitation of key transportation links and the development of potentially fertile agricultural land. Landmines surround entire communities, and many residents are unable to farm. The presence of landmines also makes it difficult to install water supply systems. UXO also pose a threat to the population, littering some 70 percent of the country and further hindering farming and economic development.

United States Assistance

An armored bulldozer operated by U.S. Department of State contractor RONCO Consulting Corporation clears landmines along the Sena rail line.  (Photo courtesy of Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement)Since Fiscal Year (FY) 1993, the United States has provided over $34,000,000 in humanitarian mine action assistance to Mozambique. In FY02, the United States provided $2,410,000 to fund demining operations on the Sena rail line between Beira and the Malawi border, and to train IND staff in the areas of general management, mine risk education, quality assurance, and administration. In FY03, the United States allocated $2,431,861 to The Hazardous Area Life-Support Organization (HALO) Trust to conduct demining operations in Cabo Delgado Province and Zambezia Province. Throughout the years, the United States has provided trucks, metal detectors, personal protective equipment, terrain-clearing tools (such as brush-cutters) and a mine detecting dog capability and has supported non-governmental organization (NGO) mine action operations. In 2003, the U.S. Department of State contractor, RONCO Consulting Corporation, provided refresher training and upgrading of equipment for the U.S. Department of Defense-trained Mozambican military demining unit engaged in humanitarian demining operations.

Accomplishments

From 1992 through October 2001, NGO mine clearance operations, funded by the United States, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Demobilization/Reintegration Project, have removed more than 17,000 landmines and more than 64,500 pieces of UXO, and cleared 16,987,355 square meters of land. These operations opened more than 4,500 kilometers of roads, including 2,400 kilometers in Sofal, Manica, and Zambezia Provinces, facilitating post-war resettlement of agricultural land and reconnecting nearly one million people to their local economies.

USAID's Leahy War Victims Fund (LWVF) has undertaken a number of initiatives to strengthen Mozambican management capabilities, improve health outreach and support private-sector opportunities to assume production and distribution of prosthetics. Additionally, the LWVF effort has resulted in visible change; possibly 70 percent of the amputee population has been directly served, receiving appropriate devices to assist their mobility. In central Mozambique, USAID funded a charter airline company to provide all logistical support of demining operations, including emergency evacuation of landmine survivors. The USAID program in Mozambique ended in 2002.

In a partnership with Japan, the United States contributed $1,000,000 to clear landmines around the Massingir Dam, a facility vital to Mozambique's overall development strategy. The dam is capable of supplying electricity and irrigating 9,000,000 square meters of land. In 2003, U.S.-funded The HALO Trust demining operations opened up roads, farming areas and land for construction of homes in four severely mine-affected northern provinces. The HALO Trust is also clearing key roads and power lines in that region. Mozambican military deminers, trained by U.S. military personnel to International Mine Action Standards, have cleared the Komatipoort-to-Maputo power lines, the capital's main source of electricity. The U.S. demining contractor, RONCO Consulting Corporation, is clearing the Sena rail line. The restored rail line will open large areas of the Zambezi River Valley, key to development of the central provinces, by facilitating the export of agricultural and mineral products to the country's second largest city and port, Beira. It will also allow access to Mozambique's infrastructure and valuable resources including coal, agricultural products and small farms and businesses. Refugees have returned to land that the Advanced Demining Program organization has cleared, schools and health clinics have been built on it and agricultural production has resumed.

U.S.-provided vehicles and computers purchased for the IND have increased its ability to function as a national mine action coordinator. The United States continues to work with the IND to increase the Institute's responsibility in overseeing all aspects of mine action and to improve interaction and cooperation among the various mine action organizations and NGOs operating in the country.

In April 2001, with the agreement of the Government of Mozambique, the U.S. Department of State established the world's first Quick Reaction Demining Force (QRDF). The QRDF consists of professional civilian Mozambican deminers working under the supervision of RONCO Consulting Corporation. The QRDF is able to rapidly deploy worldwide when called upon by the Department of State to respond to emergency or crisis situations such as a cessation of hostilities that results in the rapid return of large numbers of internally displaced persons or refugees to their homes and lands in mine-affected areas. When not deployed outside Mozambique, the QRDF keeps its skills sharpened by helping to demine Mozambique's own mined areas at the request of the IND. In April 2002, at the direction of the Department of State, the QRDF made its first external deployment to Sri Lanka shortly after the ceasefire between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam insurgents, in order to survey and demine lands from which ethnic Tamil civilians had been displaced. Almost simultaneously, the QRDF deployed to the Nuba Region in Sudan to support a ceasefire between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army, in order to facilitate the safe return of internally displaced persons and refugees to their homes and lands in that region. During May-August 2003, the QRDF deployed to Iraq where it performed invaluable service in clearing mines, cluster munitions and other UXO from heavily populated urban areas, along power lines and agricultural fields.

AFRICA

NAMIBIA

Flag of NamibiaThe Landmine Problem

Landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) have infested about 100,000 square kilometers of land (about 12 percent of Namibia) that contain some of the highest population densities in the country. By the time Namibia achieved independence from South Africa in 1989, South African Defense Forces (SADF) had laid more than 44,000 landmines in defensive perimeters around military and police bases and two water supply towers along the Namibia-Angola border in the nation's northwest. The resulting 10 minefields encompassed more than 360,000 square meters of land. The SADF also laid mines around 410 electric power pylons stretching from the northern town of Ruacana south approximately 200 kilometers to the northern border of the Estosha National Game Reserve. A 900-meter2 area around each pylon contained 24-36 landmines. Hundreds of thousands of UXO continue to be embedded along Namibia's northern border, a major battleground during the war for independence. From December 1999 through May 2002, Uni�o Nacional para a Independencia Total de Angola (UNITA) and factions of the For�as Armadas de Angola (Angolan Armed Forces [FAA]) in the Angolan civil war laid landmines in the Caprivi and Kavango regions of northeast Namibia. Although these mines affect a relatively small geographic area along some 300 miles of the border shared by Namibia and Angola, Namibian Police believe that a significant quantity endanger much of the rural population, frighten away tourists and discourage farmers from planting crops. The mines are difficult to locate, because they are unmarked and unmapped. In addition, combatants probably buried many mines along the edge of rivers and, over time, sand and vegetation growth have covered many of them. The landmines will most probably be found one at a time. For these reasons, the Namibian Police expect landmine casualties will continue to occur until deminers clear the affected areas.

United States Assistance

Since FY94, the United States has provided $8,421,000 in humanitarian mine action assistance. With $600,000 in 2003, the United States provided refresher training, equipment and vehicles to demining and explosive ordnance demolition (EOD) mobile response teams made up of personnel from the Namibian Defense Forces (NDF) and Namibian Police Forces. An operational plan was implemented, and the teams have been actively clearing the last of the country's landmine contamination along the northern border areas.

Over the years, U.S. assistance has funded a multiphase mine action program, including training, clearance, mine risk education, medical assistance, communications and other related equipment. The United States also provided a berm processor to extract landmines in the earthern berms around electric pylons. Additionally, the U.S. Government participated in a highly successful test of a machine built in Namibia, the Rotar, to sift mines from the soil. The Rotar proved so effective that the Department of Defense paid for the development of an improved system. When rugged terrain hampered UXO disposal efforts in the northern regions, the United States purchased 4x4 vehicles to enable deminers to reach the clearance sites.

Accomplishments

Overall, the establishment of Namibia's demining program is complete. In 1998, U.S. military personnel completed the "Train-the-Trainer" program for the NDF and Police, having instructed 114 military engineers and police in demining operations to International Mine Action Standards. Deminers have cleared more than one million square meters of land, restoring it to productive use, and destroyed more than 5,000 mines and 200,000 UXO. By January 2001, the NDF had cleared all known minefields and 410 electric power pylons. The Namibian Police EOD teams continue to respond to UXO reports and to conduct mine risk education programs. In FY01, a nationwide mine risk education program was implemented that included ad campaigns in local newspapers and medical kits for mine awareness teams using materials printed in four indigenous languages that reached more than 400,000 inhabitants. That and subsequent mine risk education efforts are unquestionably credited with having reduced the number of accidents from mines and UXO.

AFRICA

NIGERIA

Flag of NigeriaThe Unexploded Ordnance Problem

The January 27, 2002 explosion of the Ammunition Transfer Depot at the Ikeja Military Cantonment in Lagos started a series of fires and explosions that spread from the Depot to an adjacent market, then to houses and buildings as far as the International Airport of Lagos. The humanitarian disaster resulted in more than 1,000 civilian casualties and left a considerable amount of unexploded ordnance (UXO) around the disaster site. At the request of the Government of Nigeria, the Department of Defense immediately deployed Task Force AVID RECOVERY, a 59-person detachment from the U.S. European Command, for 60 days to assist the Nigerian army with recovery. The Department of State provided subsequent assistance through its contractor, RONCO Consulting Corporation, which supported the operation with three UXO clearance teams recruited and trained in Mozambique.

United States Assistance

In FY02, the Department of State provided $1,449,480 for emergency removal of UXO and munitions training to Nigerian forces, conducted by RONCO Consulting Corporation.

Accomplishments

The United States provided three fully equipped and trained ten-man UXO clearance teams to support UXO clearance work in Lagos, from April 2002 to mid-August 2002. U.S. assistance significantly contributed to a safer, more comprehensive and faster UXO clean-up operation.

AFRICA

RWANDA

Flag of RwandaThe Landmine Problem

Rwanda emerged from its 1994 civil war with an estimated 100,000-250,000 landmines scattered throughout the country. Despite the lack of written records and maps, the Government of Rwanda believes that the heaviest concentrations of landmines, some 50,000-60,000, were in the Kigali area and in four prefectures in the north and northwest, about 10 kilometers from the border with Uganda, an area approximately 120 kilometers long. An additional 1,200 square kilometers of suspected mine-contaminated land is situated south of thiA Rwandan demining dog handler wearing U.S.-provided personal protective equipment closely monitors his mine detecting dog, also provided by the U.S., as it sniffs for the scent of explosives in suspected landmines.  (Photo courtesy of Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement)s region. Significant portions of Rwanda's roads were mined, cutting off entire regions and hindering the flow of humanitarian aid and commodities. Overall, the mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) have been a major impediment to the economic and social development of the country. Moreover, the thick vegetation and steep hilly terrain have posed enormous challenges to mine clearance activities.

United States Assistance

U.S. humanitarian mine action assistance has dramatically improved Rwandan society for the better. In FY03, the U.S. Department of State contributed $142,095 to the Rwandan National Demining Office (NDO). On May 9, 2003, Rwanda's NDO signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense's Humanitarian Demining Research and Development Office for deployment and field evaluation of the mini-mulching system A Rwandan deminer in U.S.-provided personal protective equipment clips vegetation in order to be able to effectively continue probing for landmines.  In Rwanda and many other mine-affected countries, manual removal of vegetation can consume an inordinate amount of time that would otherwise be devoted to actual mine detection and clearance.  (Photo courtesy of Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement)(MAXX). The deployment of the remote-controlled armored MAXX, modified by DoD, is assisting mine clearance activities in the country by helping to remove vegetation from mined areas. Since the NDO began demining in 1994/95, a total of 24 minefields consisting of 450,000 square meters of land and 17 kilometers of road have been cleared, and 28,524 mines and UXO have been destroyed. Rwanda's main and secondary roads are now clear of landmines, allowing valuable exports, necessary imports, consumer goods and international aid to flow freely. Much of the cleared land supports subsistence farming, helping to decrease the food shortage. The rate of landmine casualties has dropped substantially, thanks to the removal of the most dangerous landmines and successful mine awareness campaigns. The humanitarian demining program in Rwanda is now at the sustainment phase.

Accomplishments

In 1994, 218 casualties were reported. In 2002, only 10 casualties were reported. Some 400,000 refugees and 200,000 internally displaced persons have returned to their villages, many to houses that the Rwandan Patriotic Army built on cleared land. The clearance of a minefield in the Mulindi tea plantation increased production of tea for export from 3,895,267 to 11,209,973 kilos.

AFRICA

SENEGAL

Flag of SenegalThe Landmine Problem

In 1982, supporters of the Mouvement des Forces Democratiques de la Casamance demanded that the Government of Senegal grant independence to the Casamance region, an isolated section of southwestern Senegal located between Gambia and Guinea-Bissau. This demand sparked a 19-year-long conflict, which only recently began to be resolved. The conflict worsened in the late 1990s with the appearance of anti-personnel and anti-tank mines. These landmines adversely affected the population (an anti-tank mine killed two people in September 2001), agricultural activities and tourism and have hampered donor and non-governmental organization efforts in the region. No accurate information is available regarding the total quantity of landmines or the number of landmine casualties.

United States Assistance

In July 2001, the U.S. Agency for International Development, through its Leahy War Victims Fund (LWVF), began providing the first of the $499,751 committed to Senegal, to Handicap International (HI) France to support mine-survivor rehabilitation services and mine risk education assistance programs in the Casamance region. Another component of LWVF aid, implemented via HI France, supports local associations that assist people with landmine injuries during their treatment and eases their return to family and communities.

Accomplishments

To facilitate the rehabilitation of landmine victims, HI France is promoting the decentralization of orthopedic services in the region. Additionally, HI France has collected data on mine accidents, and produced maps that indicate mine locations. This information enables HI France to target prevention activities more effectively.

AFRICA

SOMALIA

Flag of SomaliaThe Landmine Problem

Northwest Somalia (Somaliland) has a severe landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) problem. Several conflicts have left large quantities of landmines and UXO along the border between northwest Somalia and Ethiopia, the perimeters of military installations, important access routes and urban areas. Following the Ethiopian conflict, the Somali Army laid mines near the border and around nearby military bases as a defense strategy. The civil war in 1988 saw the continued practice of laying mines, restricting both military and civilian movement within the country. The Somalia Mine Action Center (SMAC) has confirmed the presence of at least 28 mined roads and 63 known and 17 suspected minefields in Somalia.

United States Assistance

The United States awarded $450,000 in Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 to The Hazardous Area Life-Support Organization (HALO) Trust for demining operations in northwest Somaliland. In FY02, the U.S. Department of State also provided $1,200,000 in humanitarian demining assistance to fund mine clearance operations conducted by HALO Trust. Since 1998, the United States has funded nearly $6,000,000 in mine action assistance to northwest Somalia.

Accomplishments

Operations completed by The HALO Trust from March 1, 2003-June 30, 2003, were successful. Five manual demining teams and one explosive ordnance disposal team were deployed. One manual team worked as a battlefield-area clearance team and cleared land around Hargeisa that allowed the resettlement of refugees. Another team was deployed to Lascanod in Sool Region, an area often ignored due to security reasons, and is making progress. Together, the teams have manually demined or battlefield-area cleared a total of 14,901,674 square meters of land, destroying 54 anti-personnel mines, 62 anti-tank mines, and 770 items of UXO. More equipment, including metal detectors, arrived in Somalia in 2003 to help expand the program and increase the speed of clearance operations. In addition to the recent Landmine Impact Survey, additional surveys by HALO teams and coordination with SMAC will allow a greater understanding of the mine situation in the entire country.

AFRICA

SUDAN

Flag of SudanThe Landmine Problem

Sudan has a serious landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) problem as a result of its civil war that began in 1983. Both the Government of Sudan (GoS) and armed opposition groups, such as the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), emplaced landmines to protect fixed garrisons and interdict roads, respectively. Local records indicate that between 1989 and February 2002, an estimated 1,160 persons became landmine victims in the Nuba Mountain region of southern Sudan. Both landmines and UXO currently hinder the movement of cease-fire monitors, humanitarian goods and the civilian population.

United States Assistance

In late April 2002, the United States deployed a portion of its Quick Reaction Demining Force (QRDF) to conduct mine clearance operations in the Nuba Mountains. In Fiscal Year 2003, Sudan received $896,000 in U.S. humanitarian mine action assistance.

Accomplishments

The QRDF's mine clearance operations opened eight kilometers of a critical stretch of road, lessening the likelihood of additional casualties, as refugees and internally displaced persons returned to areas where mines were known to exist and into other areas suspected of being mined. These mine clearance operations also contributed to the success of the first phase of the ceasefire between the GoS and the SPLM/A and the operations of the Joint Military Commission, an international agency in which the United States plays a leading role.

AFRICA

ZAMBIA

Flag of ZambiaThe Landmine Problem

Nearly 20 years of fighting for independence, beginning in the 1960s when guerrillas from the neighboring countries of Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe waged their anti-colonial wars, left Zambia with a landmine problem of largely unknown dimensions. The Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) is unable to estimate the quantity and types of landmines in its soil, because combatants laid the mines in a "nuisance pattern," and accurate records were not maintained. GRZ requests to former colonial authorities and former liberation movement participants to obtain information about the landmines they emplaced have not been successful. The Government's best estimate is that landmines affect 2,500 square kilometers of land in five provinces, stretching from Mwinilunga, bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the Northwestern Province, and continuing along its western borders to Lundazi in the Eastern Province. Landmines also infest the Western, Southern, Lusaka and Central Provinces. A high-density minefield threat does not appear to exist, but rather a threat of isolated and nuisance mines along routes and around camps that the freedom fighters once used. Nevertheless, large amounts of productive land in the mine-affected provinces have been virtually "no-go" areas for more than 30 years. The fear of mines has prevented the use of roads, schools, waterways, rural health centers and airports and has impeded socio-economic development. Since Zambia achieved its independence in 1980, landmines have killed or maimed at least 200 people. The number may be higher, because hospitals do not specifically identify landmine victims in their overall casualty records.

United States Assistance

Zambian Mine Action Center deminers and a RONCO Consulting Corporation trainer, under contract to the U.S. Department of State, pose for a group photo after a grueling day of mine clearance.  (Photo courtesy of Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement)Since FY00, the United States has donated $2,474,000 to Zambia for mine clearance operations. In FY02, United States assistance amounted to $1,240,000 to support mine action activities, including staff management, survey and database management, mine clearance operations, medical support and additional mine risk education conducted by U.S. military personnel. The United States committed $450,000 in FY03 to support further Zambian Mine Action Center (ZMAC) operations.

Accomplishments

The ZMAC, established in 2001, is now making satisfactory progress towards making Zambia mine-safe. ZMAC personnel are trained and equipped and are now working to complete a nationwide Landmine Impact Survey. When the survey results are complete and available, possibly in 2004, ZMAC will be able to produce a prioritized demining plan. At a minimum, however, ZMAC should have enough survey data in 2004 to plan demining operations for the next year's May-to-November dry season.

By the end of 2002, the U.S.-funded contractor, RONCO Consulting Corporation, trained and equipped four ZMAC demining teams. Each team consists of one demining team leader, six deminers, one minefield supervisor and three personnel to fill medical or leadership functions. The next deployment of deminers is scheduled to clear ordnance that has prevented the completion of a road project near Chongwe in Lusaka Province. In May 2002, deminers were deployed to Siavonga and quickly finished their first assignment. The survey team has covered all four mine-affected districts in Northwestern Province and two districts in Lusaka Province. Zambia is now well on the way to establishing an indigenous, sustainable humanitarian mine action capability.



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