Mine Action in The Democratic Republic of the Congo: Completion of demining operations
Humanity & Inclusion (which operates under the name Handicap International in the DRC) has completed its demining operations in the Tshopo, Ituri, Bas-Uele and Haut-Uele provinces of Democratic Republic of the Congo. From January 2016 to December 2017, HI and its local partner, Africa for Anti-Mine Action (AFRILAM) cleared 34,520 meters of land of mines, freeing 5,600 people of the threat of mines and explosive remnants of war, the legacy of conflicts between armed groups in the region which started in the 1990s.
The mines were cleared manually by a team of 19 deminers trained by Humanity & Inclusion. On average, one deminer manually cleared 13 meters each day. Since operations began in 2016, 21 mines have been made safe and destroyed, along with 25 explosive remnants of war (ERW) including F1 grenades, PG7 rockets, and 120 mm mortar shells.
"Despite the very difficult conditions in the zones concerned, due to the rainy season from October to May and the very dense vegetation, the demining operations went very well,” explains Jadot Bamungu, the head of HI's demining operations in the DRC. “HI organized 85 risk education sessions for 6,000 people to raise awareness of the risks of explosive remnants of war. We feel this will help the local populations to feel safer and to go about their day-to-day activities serenely.”
Antipersonnel landmines were first used in 1960 in the DRC when it achieved its independence. Since 1996, there has been widespread use of mines by the various armed groups fighting in the north and east of the country in a succession of conflicts. They still pose a constant threat to the local population today.
HI in DRC
Present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1994, HI provides rehabilitation care, promotes the inclusion of children with disabilities in schools, and more. Having been heavily involved in demining operations, our previous projects in this area date back to 2014. Alongside AFRILAM, our partner since 2008, we've been deploying new operations in this area over the last three years. A State Party to the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has set itself the goal of becoming mine free by 2021. Learn more about our work in the DRC.