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Mozambique:Residual mines cleared

NPA Field Supervisor Mozambique, Francisco Filipe, Briefing provincial leaders during handover ceremony in Nangade (Photo: Maxwel Gopani, NPA).

Norwegian People’s Aid is proud to announce that we have finished clearing mines at the Mozambique – Tanzania border. After more than 20 years of humanitarian demining, the country has declared itself mine-free. 

- Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) was one of the first humanitarian demining operators in Mozambique, and has been an instrumental part of this victory, says Programme Manager for Norwegian People’s Aid in Mozambique, Afedra Robert Iga.

IND Officer Speaking at the Hnadover Ceremony2

National Demining Institute (IND) officer Ligia Chamo speaking at the Handover ceremony (Photo: Maxwel Gopani, NPA).

Mozambique went through civil war from 1977 to 1992. After the war, mines and explosives were buried all over the country. In December 1997, Mozambique was one of the first countries to sign the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. By signing the treaty, Mozambique committed itself to surveying and clearing all mine-contaminated areas in its jurisdiction.

In September 2015, Mozambique completed its obligations to the mine Ban Treaty, and was officially declared free of landmines. This also marked the end of proactive humanitarian demining efforts in the country. But only half a year later, after two suspected mine accidents, more mines and explosive remnants of war were discovered in the district of Nangade on the border to Tanzania.

- Mozambique used to be one of the most mine affected countries in the world, and residual minefields are not uncommon on territories with such a serious contamination problem, Iga explains.

Landmines in Mozambique

The landmine challenge in Mozambique is the result of two distinct phases of conflict:

  • Between 1964 and 1974, large barrier minefields and defensive minefields during the national liberation struggle against colonialism.
  • Between 1975 and 1992, mines were also used by Rhodesian and the South Africa Apartheid Regime against Mozambique.

Following the discoveries of new minefields, the Mozambique National Demining Institute (IND) requested Norwegian People’s Aid to undertake clearance activities in 2017. Through a combination of non-technical survey, technical survey and manual clearance NPA discovered and destructed 115 antipersonnel mines and 3 UXO. 138,958 square meters of land was recently cleared and handed back to the local population. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has funded the operations.

- By completing clearing the residual mine fields in 2017, NPA’s undivided commitment in ensuring Mozambique not only achieved her obligation to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty, but also in ensuring residual mine fields are dealt with in an efficient manner which again guarantees safety for the Mozambican people, says Afedra Robert Iga of NPA.

27.06.2017 | Ingebjørg Sørenes
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