Clearance of First Cluster Munition Strike Area Complete
NPA’s Mine Action program in Mauritania has just finished clearing its first cluster munitions strike site. Contamination in the country from cluster munitions stems from the past conflict between Mauritania, Morocco and the Polisario, and is located in the northern border areas.
Mauritania signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) in April 2010. Mauritania is already compliant with Article 3 of the CCM, having never used, stockpiled or transferred cluster type munitions. Compliance with Article 4 of the Convention is deemed easily achievable and NPA expects to be able to clear all identified cluster munitions contaminated areas in Mauritania by the end of this year. Clearance activities are conducted in coordination with the National Authority for Mine Action in Mauritania (PNDHD) and funding for program activities is provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the German Federal Foreign Office.
Before starting to clear the cluster munitions, the clearance teams participated in a special training to learn how to conduct battle area clearance activities which is different from the regular demining activities of the 4 clearance teams currently operating in Mauritania. At the site the teams cleared over 350,000 square meters and found 28 cluster munitions.