DR Congo

MAG DR Congo Programme Update Mar 2007

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SUMMARY

Reporting Period: 01 March 2007 - 31 March 2007

Activities & Outputs Summary:

- Search and clearance of a total of 71,000 m2 of land through a combination of hand, electronic, and visual techniques

- Removal and destruction a total of 7,346 hazardous items: including 1,810 UXO, 5,471 items of small arms ammunition 17 anti-tank mines and 48 anti-personnel mines

- Completion of 141 clearance and disposal tasks targeting 10,306 beneficiaries

- 118 Dangerous Areas (DAs) identified

- 40 MRE sessions conducted targeting 6,384 beneficiaries

Impact Summary:

Operational outputs increased significantly in March as all three Mine Clearance Teams (MCTs) and Community Liaison Teams (CLTs) were deployed throughout the month as well as MAG's two Small Arms Light Weapons (SALW) teams. Refresher training conducted in February for the CLTs in Katanga proved beneficial in helping the teams locate and identify hazardous items through community liaison activities. The large number of removed and destroyed hazardous items was also due to operations conducted by MAG's SALW teams in Basankusu, completed in cooperation with local police authorities and the regional military command. Papa Wemba, a renowned Congolese musician, visited Equateur province in March to launch a nationwide MRE programme and develop communications material for a project supported by UNICEF.

ACTIVITIES

Equateur

The SIDA-funded CL/MRE and clearance teams have continued their series of short notice deployments in the vicinity of Mbandaka, this month to Mokanza, approximately 250km upstream on the Congo River. The teams remain on standby for a deployment on behalf of UNHCR to Dongo.

This month the teams conducted 18 clearance tasks, freeing 65,000m2 of land for renewed usage and disposing of 16 dangerous items of explosive ordnance. Concurrently, 27 new Dangerous Areas were reported and 15 MRE sessions conducted, reaching 3,744 people.

This month also saw the first operational deployment of the SIDA and Guernsey Overseas Aid-funded resupply boat. Capable of travelling at 70 kph while carrying an operational load of up to 1.2 tonnes, this boat will not only provide an effective and practical resupply alternative, but also a credible first stage medivac capability for operations in remote locations.

Katanga

The Belgian Government and DfID sponsored CL/MRE and clearance teams continued to conduct operations out of the Pweto forward support base and the Pepa field base. In summary, 91 new Dangerous Areas were registered and 25 MRE sessions were conducted, reaching 2,640 beneficiaries. In addition, 267 items of dangerous ammunition were rendered safe during the completion of 124 clearance tasks. In conjunction with a scheduled visit from a representative of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Kinshasa the teams performed a MRE/demining demonstration in Pweto. A request from UNHCR for MRE to returning refugees will be implemented in early May when UNHCR formally begins its assisted repatriation process for refugees from Zambia. Throughout March, CL teams, under the direction the Community Liaison Manager have continued to hone their CL skills developed during last month's training.

Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) Destruction Project

Efforts to gain local authorisation to conduct reconnaissance and disposal operations on existing weapon stockpiles continued this month with further negotiations with the armed forces chief of staff. While this process remained on-going in March, the SALW team in Katanga joined the team in Equateur Province to complete operations in Basankusu. The teams cleared two ammunition stockpiles of surplus and redundant ammunition, and gathered a number of small arms weapons for collation and future destruction in Mbandaka. 17 anti-tank mines and 48 anti-personnel mines were included in the destruction along with 1,472 items of UXO and 4,070 items of small arms ammunition.

Kinshasa

In March, MAG began an MRE project based out of Kinshasa, supported by UNICEF and in cooperation with renowned Congolese Musician, Papa Wemba. The national MRE campaign makes use of the international celebrity status of Papa Wemba to promote mine awareness nationwide using various forms of media such as radio. This month Papa Wemba conducted a field visit to Mbandaka to help develop material for the project and promote it in the region. This will be followed up over the next two months by the further development, testing and implementation of the campaign. The capacity building work with the national NGO, Humanitas Ubangi, is set to begin in June.

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)

- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

- UNICEF

- 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