South Sudan

Japanese Ambassador visits UNMAS demining site in Nesitu

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30 November 2015 - To see mine action work funded by a donation from Japan, the country’s Ambassador to South Sudan today visited a demining site in Nesitu, Central Equatoria State.

Japanese Ambassador Kiya Masahiko visited the site in Baibai village, 30 km south of Juba, where the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) is clearing about 21,000 square metres of land.

The area is said to contain many anti-tank and anti-personnel mines left behind by the Sudanese Armed Forces during the civil war.

With funding from a $2.5 million donation from Japan, work on the contaminated zone started in November 2015.

UNMAS is using the contribution to fund Quick Response Teams, train Explosive Detection Dogs and deliver Mine Risk Education to local communities.

“I am very impressed with the dedication of the South Sudanese working here under the scorching sun every day for the benefit of local community,” said Mr. Masahiko, referring to national deminers working with UNMAS.

He also expressed hope that with continued help from the international community, South Sudan will one day be free of landmines.

Jada Isaac Timon, the chief of Nesitu, said he was very happy with the UNMAS for the clearing operations and revealed that the community feels safer.

He noted that although the local population of Baibai village makes their living mainly from agriculture, the legacy of conflict had continued to restrict their daily life with remnants of war preventing them from using the land for cultivation and other agricultural projects.

Mr. Timon said he hoped once area was cleared of mines, the local community would be able to resettle, build schools and hospitals once the area is cleared from mines.

UNMAS has cleared and released 11 million square meters of land since January 2015, destroyed 1700 Explosive Remnants of War and delivered Mine Risk Education to more than 445,305 men, women and children.