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Mozambique one step closer to its mine-free goal


IND Director Alberto Augusto attends a ceremony at the Inhambane province - Photos by Kate Brady UNDP/IND.

Mozambique - The National Demining Institute of Mozambique (IND) has announced that the province of Inhambane is now free of landmines placing Mozambique a step closer to fulfilling its mine clearance obligation under the Convention.

“Nearly 6.5 million square metres have been cleared and released for normal human activity in Inhambane,” said IND Director, Alberto Augusto.

“We are now working to complete all remaining tasks in Mozambique before 31 December, according to Mozambique’s extended deadline under the Convention.”

“The complexity of the soil structure in parts of the province, and the swamps left by the floods of 2000, delayed conclusion of the work,” added Alberto Augusto.

“In Inhambane, heavy rains turned many areas into swamps and some mined areas are now submerged under water. The IND will train the police in Inhambane to deal with any situations that may arise in the future.”

According to the IND, 570 landmines and other 12,000 munitions have been removed and destroyed in Inhambane since 1998.

The mine clearance work was undertaken by Handicap International and several commercial operators under Mozambique’s 2008-2014 National Mine Action Plan.

All mined areas in seven of the Mozambique’s ten provinces have now been addressed in accordance with Convention obligations.

Suspected mined areas remain in three central provinces, Manica, Sofala and Tete. The IND expects Tete will be cleared of all known landmines by the end of November.
Nadia Vaz, from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), an implementing partner of the IND, said that while Mozambique is a step closer to its mine-free goal, the work is not yet over.

“The second phase is to carry out development activities to promote income and livelihoods among populations previously-affected by landmines, which can be achieved with the continued support of the Government of Mozambique and its partners,” said Nadia Vaz.

The Convention entered into force for Mozambique on 1 March 1999.

Mozambique was required to destroy or ensure the destruction of all anti-personnel mines in mined areas not later than 1 March 2009. However, due to technical and financial challenges, Mozambique requested extended deadlines.

Mozambique is now poised to be one of the most severely mine-affected countries to have eliminated the scourge of anti-personnel mines from its territory.

Additional sources: IND, Mozambique News Agency.

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