On February 10th the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria officially announced that the country was mine-free! Algeria is the largest country in Africa and its history is marked with more periods of violence than peace. The combination of World War II, the Algerian War of Independence and religious fighting in the 90s led to Algeria's landmine problem.
Algeria became a member of the Ottawa Convention in 1997, when the country signed the mine ban treaty. Algeria recently fulfilled its mine clearance obligation under the treaty clearing 93 mined areas, 78 former mine barrages, and destroying over a million landmines. This makes Algeria the second North African country to meet its demining obligations under the Convention and the 30th in the world.
More than 120 million square meters of land were cleared and released, returning safe land to communities and giving them a chance to rebuild their lives and livelihoods safely. The demining activities were carried out entirely with Algeria's own national resources. This is quite unusual, as most countries rely on international funding. The last landmine was removed on November 30, 2016.
APOPO became a full member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Cluster Munitions Coalition (ICBL- CMC) civil society network in May 2014. We are proud of Algeria for recently reaching this huge milestone. This strong commitment of Algeria is a great example for other mine-affected countries, and reaffirms the concept of a mine-free world.