DR Congo

MAG DR Congo Programme Update Apr 2007

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SUMMARY

Reporting Period: 01 April 2007 - 30 April 2007

Activities & Outputs Summary:

- Search and clearance of a total of 7,350 m2 of land through a combination of hand, electronic, and visual techniques

- Removed and destroyed a total of 4,104 hazardous items: including 204 UXO, 3,898 items of small arms ammunition, 1 anti-tank mine and 1 anti-personnel mine. 32,216 items were destroyed in March but not reflected in last month's update due to later reporting.

- Completed 143 clearance and disposal tasks targeting 14,886 beneficiaries

- Identified 138 Dangerous Areas

- Conducted 98 MRE sessions

Impact Summary:

April saw the highest number of tasks completed and beneficiaries reached this year with the completion of 143 clearance and disposal tasks, which benefited 14,886 people. Preparations to provide MRE and clearance for UNHCR assisted returnees in May to both Equateur and Katanga

Provinces also continued this month. The Small Arms Light Weapons (SALW) project, funded by the US Department of State, commenced planning for weapons stockpile destruction in conjunction with MONUC and received an agreement with the Logistics Central Base in Kinshasa to install a set of hydraulic shears. The shears will service a SALW destruction centre located at the Central Base and operated in cooperation with the FARDC. In support of International Mine Action Day, 4 April 2007, MAG hosted a concert with renowned Congolese musician, Papa Wemba "the King of Rumba Rock".

In his new role as Ambassador, Papa Wemba will be publicising mine risk education messages through television, radio and posters, to reduce the threat posed by explosive remnants of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

ACTIVITIES

Equateur

During operations in April the SIDA supported teams identified 8 new Dangerous Areas and conducted 11 MRE sessions, benefiting 4,319 people. Concurrently, they conducted 13 clearance tasks, freeing 850m² of land and disposing of 16 dangerous items of explosive ordnance. The Community Liaison teams also targeted a number of tertiary education facilities in the Mbandaka area. With the student population derived from across the Province, the information gathered has contributed greatly to MAG's existing knowledge of UXO contamination in the region, and will allow MAG and the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre to more accurately target affected communities in the future.

Katanga

The DfID and Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Community Liaison and Manual Clearance Teams continued to be based out of the Pweto forward support base. This month the teams completed 130 clearance tasks which rendered safe 190 items of dangerous UXO. The teams also conducted 85 sessions of MRE, reaching 10,567 beneficiaries. The CL teams continued their training and development of MRE presentation techniques in preparation of support to UNHCR's programmed return of refugees from Zambia early next month. The teams also answered three requests from MONUC for clearance at the Moba airport, port and hospital removing three dangerous items of explosive ordnance.

Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Destruction Project

SALW teams completed preparation work for the destruction of 2,267 weapons in Mbandka including an inventory of type, serial number and country of origin. Additionally, a set of hydraulic shears purchased with support by the US Dept of State were successfully installed in the FARDC Logistics Central Base, Kinshasa, in cooperation with the FARDC. A fully equipped destruction centre is now being completed and will be staffed by 6 FARDC officers trained as SALW technicians by MAG.

To highlight the achievements which went under-reported in the March update, the SALW missions to Boende and Basankusu during March cleared a total of 37,868 items in bulk stockpile demolitions (more than the 5,607 initially reported) and rendered safe 745 weapons for later destruction.

Kinshasa

The highlight of project activities this month was the investiture of Papa Wemba as MAG DRC's "Ambassador Against Mines" during a concert he performed in support of the 2nd International Mine Action Day on 4 April 2007. Media broadcasts of the concert and publication of articles by the press followed throughout April. The UNICEF supported CL teams also conducted media surveys and field tested logos and slogans for further development of materials in support of the project. The results of the tests were then collated and analysed by Market Research Centres (Maison de Sondage) as to viewer and listener practices and preferences. Papa Wemba delivered interviews for Congolese, French, American and Zambian radio stations regarding mine awareness, while preparation of content for television and radio spots continued. Over 100 print and web articles were released in April on MAG's partnership with Papa Wemba, including the key messages and objectives of the project.

MAG would like to express its gratitude and many thanks to the following current donors to the Democratic Republic of Congo programme:

- Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

- Canadian Global Peace and Security Fund

- Department for International Development (UK)

- UNICEF

- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

- United States Department of State, Political Military Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement

For more information on this or any of MAG's programmes across the world please visit www.magclearsmines.org

Or contact: Katharine Hopper (Regional Desk Officer) e-mail: Katharine.Hopper@mag.org.uk
MAG, 47 Newton Street, Manchester, M1 1FT, UK
Tel: +44 161 236 4311 Fax: +44 161 236 6244