Rwanda - Landmines Country Report

Situation Report
Originally published
8 Feb 96 - The RPA demining team has commenced working along the tracks in Kingi and will soon move to Cyeru and Butaro. (Source: UN/DPKO)


SITUATION - Dec. 95 - Rwanda has a serious land mine problem because of the ethnic and political conflagration that
engulfed this tiny, landlocked nation located in Central Africa between Apr. and Jul. 94.

The new National Demining Office, established under a US-Rwanda bilateral arrangement, estimates there are 250,000 mines to be cleared, primarily in the north-west, north-east, and Central (Kigali) areas. In recent weeks there has been a noticeable increase in mine casualties and incidents, largely attributed to terrorist elements exploiting the presence of 1 million refugees camped in Zaire. Vehicles belonging to relief groups have been targeted, including an ICRC truck which struck an AT mine in Sep. 95, wounding 23 people out of 54 aboard.

In May 95 a team from the US Department of Defense visited Kigali as part of a bilateral agreement to undertake demining activities. As part of the US$105 million budget, the US has trained 85 active military personnel with the Rwandan Army, and will provide 18 sniffer dogs (see Demining Capacity). The US demining company Ronco assumed the follow-up management tasks after the last US personnel departed 2 Oct. 95. The US also provided 250 metal detectors for the project. The US also moved to have the arms embargo curtailing the import the import of explosvies into Rwanda lifted by action of the UN Security Council (acting under Chapter VII of the Charter).


Mine incidents have been reported in Ruhengeri and Byumba Prefectures. Devastated parts of the capital, Kigali, are littered with items of UXO and land mines, which regularly claim the lives of civilians.

Number of Mines

250,000. Figure provided by Rwanda's National Demining Office.

Country Statistics

Existing mines:
total 250,000

Demining Capacity

National Demining Office: There are 85 RPA personnel located in three sections: demining, medical support and communications support. Each of the 59 deminiers were trained for two months. Each of the operational squads is made up of 8-10 deminers, one medical staffer, and one communications expert. A database has been established to collate information from the field. The US will provide 18 sniffer dogs.

Mine Awareness: There is a UNICEF project in the schools (called 'School in a Box'). There are daily radio and press mine awareness notices alerting the populace to the mine threat.


The two most populous ethnic groups in Rwanda are the majority Hutu and the minority Tutsi. The Tutsi lost their centuries long traditional domination of political, social and economic life after decolonisation, when the French departed and the Hutu won majority rule in 1962. Ethnic tensions have surfaced several times since independence.

In 1993 exiled Tutsi rebels, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), made it to the gates of Kigali before being turned back by French-backed government troops. After a ceasefire and mediation the preseidents of Rwanda and Burundi were set to sign a peace settlement when their aircraft was shot down on 6 Apr. 94, allegedly by Hutu hardliners in the Rwandan government who opposed their president's peace initiative.

The assassinations sparked a wave of blood-letting that pitted armed mobs of Hutu against the Tutsi population. Moderate Hutu were also targeted. An estimated 750,000-1 million people perished in massacres. sparking what UNHCR described as "the largest and festest refugee exodus in history." The RPF emerged from the countryside and stormed into Kigali on 4 Jul. 94, ousting the new Hutu leadership. An estimated 1 million Hutu fled the Tutsi take-over, fearing reprisals for the massacres. French military intervention on 22 Jun. 94 was said to be aimed at restoring order. In Dec. 95 UNICEF estimated that some 300,000 children died in the strife, and that many continue to be killed by uncleared mines and UXO littering the cities and countryside.

In the months that followed the Great Lakes Region was convulsed by terrorist attacks in which land mines were frequently used to intimidate western relief workers and governments in Rwanda, Burundi and Zaire.

Inhumane Weapons Convention


Moratorium on the export of anti-personnel mines

no Mines found in Rwanda and their origins

NR 409 Belgium
NR 413 Belgium
PRB 409 Belgium
PRB M35 Belgium
Type-72a China
Type-72b China
PP-MI-SR-II Czech Republic
M-78 Egypt
T 79 Egypt
PPM-2 Germany
TS 50 Italy
V Italy
VS-50 Italy
Valmara 59 Italy
Valmara 69 Italy
P2 Mk2 Pakistan
P4 MK1 Pakistan
MON-50 Russian Federation
PMD 7ts Russian Federation
PMD-6 Russian Federation
PMN Russian Federation
PMN-1 Russian Federation
POMZ-2 Russian Federation
POMZ-2M Russian Federation
M-14 United States
M-2A4 United States
M16-A2 United States
M18A1''Claymore'' United States
M2A1 United States
M2A3 United States
No 2 United States