2015 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

Date: 2015 Description: A MAG community liaison officer introduces the dangers of landmines to a  community in Dimbelenge territory, DRC.  © Photo courtesy of MAG.

Landmines and UXO litter the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) following two decades of conflict with neighboring states and non-state actors. The Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor identified 2,516 landmine/UXO victims, including more than 1,000 deaths, as of April 2014. Occasional cross-border raids by non-state actors in the northern, southern, and eastern provinces of DRC continue to threaten residents, while deteriorating munitions stored near communities place civilians at risk from accidental explosions. In addition, conflicts foster a large SA/LW black market in DRC and the region. This illicit SA/LW proliferation poses a significant threat to local populations and to regional security.

From FY2002 through FY2014, the United States provided more than $14.1 million in funding for CWD efforts including humanitarian mine action in DRC. With this support, various nongovernmental organizations destroyed more than 140,000 SA/LW, 1,025 tons of munitions, 345 anti-vehicle mines, 2,007 anti-personnel landmines, and 14 MANPADS; improved DRC’s PSSM capacity; and supported the DRC government’s ability to mark and trace all state-owned weapons. In FY2014, the U.S. government contributed more than $4.1 million for CWD in DRC.

The Department of State supported the work of the following implementing partners:

• MAG deployed weapons and ammunition destruction teams, destroying 12,674 SA/LW and 75 tons of surplus, unstable, at-risk, and obsolete munitions throughout North and South Kivu Provinces.

• DanChurchAid continued UXO clearance work, conducted surveys, and provided mine-risk education in South Kivu Province.

The Department of Defense funded U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM), which deployed military explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) personnel to DRC to conduct International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) training, PSSM courses, and first-responder medical training with an emphasis on developing competent Congolese EOD instructors and emergency medical response personnel. The Department of Defense Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster and Civic Aid (OHDACA) appropriation funded humanitarian mine-action activities, supplies, travel, equipment, and services.

The USAID’s Leahy War Victims Fund funded Handicap International for physical rehabilitation programs (physical therapy, prosthetics and orthotics, and mobility aids).