After 30 years of a long-simmering rebellion, Senegal’s most fertile southern region of Casamance still suffers under the threat of landmines. Following a request by the Senegalese government in, NPA conducted initial assessments; local personnel were recruited and trained for Non-Technical and Technical Survey.
NPA was instrumental in helping Senegalese authorities update their database of contaminated areas, allowing them to respond confidently and completely to stakeholder requests for information on the progress of mine action in Senegal for the first time since their inception.
NPA is the only operator in country to stake the objectives of its program on supporting Senegal to achieve Mine Ban Treaty compliance.
After nearly a year of government-imposed limitations on demining activities, however, NPA was forced to conclude—in concert with donors—that in the interest of efficiency, programme resources should be elsewhere. The unresolved politico-security situation in the Casamance, though comparatively calm, poses some unfortunate and potentially avoidable hazards to transparency and to the implication of all mine action stakeholders, which in turn unduly prevents operators from deploying demining resources where the necessary work could be carried out safely, in areas which surveys, beneficiary needs, and Senegal’s signature to the Mine Ban Treaty all indicate as immediate priorities.
NPA remains proud of its accomplishments in surveying suspected mined areas and in capacity building Senegalese national authorities to modernize and maintain their comprehensive database, which now shows the extent of the landmine problem in Senegal and the work required to solve it by 2016.
Though a disappointing turn of events, NPA takes heart in the knowledge that the decision to withdraw exhibits the principled resolve and the commitment to efficient and transparent humanitarian demining on which the organization’s reputation depends, and that should the situation evolve over time, a future return to finish the job remains possible.
By the end of 2013 NPA Senegal will boast 3 integrated Non-Technical and MDD survey teams, with a staff of 41 full-time employees. All are based in Ziguinchor.
NPA Humanitarian Disarmament Programme Senegal is funded by grants from the NMFA and the GFFO.
News from Senegal
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