ACT Appeal Sudan: Mine Action in Nuba Mountain Area - AFSD-32

Originally published


Appeal Target: US$ 1,972,901
Balance Requested from ACT Network: US$ 48,113
Geneva, 19 March 2003

Dear Colleagues,

This appeal is an extension of the Sudan Mine Action Programme in the Nuba mountains area started by DanChurchAid with the support of DANIDA and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry in August 2002. The proposal is based on the UN Emergency Mine Action Plan for the Nuba mountains of April 2002. It explores the "window of opportunity" created by the cease-fire between the SPLM/A and the Government of Sudan. This cease-fire agreement has recently been renewed until 30 June 2003 and a further extension for another 6 months is expected.

There is still heavy fighting going on between the armies of the North and the South in the areas south of the Nuba mountains. In spite of this, a successful cease-fire agreement prevails in the Nuba mountains under the surveillance of the internationally established Joint Military Commission (JMC). All parties stress the importance of continuation and adjustment of the present mine action programme which contributes to stabilisation of the situation involving both warring parties working together peacefully.

ACT member DanChurchAid (DCA) aims to train and equip a local de-mining capacity to international standards this year. The capacity will have a De-mining, Mine Risk Education, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, a Medical and a Search Dog component. The local capacity will also receive management and administration training.

Project Completion Date:
31 December 2003

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested

Total Appeal Target(s)
Less: Pledges/Contr. Recd.
Balance Requested from ACT Network

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
PO Box 2600
1211 Geneva 2

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

For further information:

ACT Web Site address:

Elizabeth Ferris
Diakonia & Solidarity
World Council of Churches
John Nduna
Acting Director, ACT
Robert Granke
LWF/World Service

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.
The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.


DanChurchAid - ACT Sudan


DanChurchAid (DCA) was formed at the 1922 Conference of European Churches and is the Church of Denmark's relief and development organisation. Currently, DCA is one of Denmark's largest organisations responding to work of this nature, with a wide national and international network of relief partners and fellow member church organisations. DCA is a longstanding member of church related international aid work, through the World Council of Churches, its partnership with LWF/WS, and as a funding member of ACT International.

DCA is an internationally oriented NGO that is guided by several international guidelines and regulative bodies with respect to Humanitarian Mine Action. DCA works under the framework of the Bad Honnef Guidelines for Mine Action (1997). These guidelines place emphasis on the empowerment and training of the community to carry out all aspects of mine action programmes, on securing peace and national reconstruction through mine action programmes, and reintegrating refugees, displaced persons and demobilised soldiers into society again.

On a technical level DCA is guided by the UN's International Standards for Humanitarian Mine Clearance Operations (March 1997) with respect to quality assurance, accreditation, and minimum standards are concerned. DCA aims at a 100% clearance in its areas of operation.

DCA also adheres to the International Code of Conduct for International NGO's.

DCA became involved in mine action in the mid -1980s supporting the LWF De-mining and resettlement project in Cambodia. During the 1990s DCA supported programmes in Angola, South Sudan, Cambodia, Chechnya, and most recently in Kosovo, Albania and Eritrea. DCA chose to become operational in Kosovo late 1998 and Eritrea in 2001.

Nowadays, DanChurchAid offers its Humanitarian Mine Action expertise through the church network, most often through the Lutheran World Federation-Department of World Service (LWF-WS) and/or the Action by Churches Together Alliance (ACT).

Partner information:

Over the last several years, a number of local organisations and alliances have been built to address the landmine problem in Sudan. Generally, these organisations have shown great ability to maintain a high activity level with limited resources. The Campaign to Ban Landmines has been recognised by both parts in the conflict and the Government of Sudan (GoS) has signed but not yet ratified the Ottawa Treaty. The Sudanese People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) has signed an agreement accepting the Ottawa Treaty as a Non State Party.

Sudan Campaign to Ban Landmines (SCBL) is a Khartoum based organisation, which has been given mandated by the GoS to take a leading role in co-ordination of addressing the landmine problem throughout Sudan. SCBL has both national and international involvement, as well as UN participation, and had started a number of mine awareness and information gathering initiatives throughout Sudan.

Operation Save Innocent Lives-Sudan (OSIL) is a dedicated mine action organisation established by the humanitarian wing of the SPLM/A. OSIL has, since the second half of the 1990's, been operational in the SPLM/A controlled areas. OSIL have received some training and equipment input from international partners, and has been conducting clearance and mine awareness operations. Currently, OSIL has plans of deploying both clearance and mine awareness teams in the Nuba Mountains area, and DCA-ACT will make efforts in establishing a close collaboration with these teams. DCA has supported OSIL with private funds since 1997, and is a regular member of the OSIL Executive Board. OSIL is the key operational component in the implementation of the SLIRI project.

Sudan Association for Combating Landmines (JASMAR) is a Khartoum based local NGO. SCBL has requested that DCA-ACT should work with JASMAR, as an implementing partner and a MOU has been signed with JASMAR. JASMAR currently do not have any capacity, other than that provided by DCA-ACT.

DanChurchAid is implementing this program in co-operation with Operation Save Innocent Lives-Sudan (OSIL) and Sudan Association For Combating Land mines (JASMAR)

The UN Mine Action Co-ordination Centre (MACC)/UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) became operational as of May 2002, and has established a base in Khartoum, as well as a Field Office in Kadugli in the Nuba Mountains and an additional field office has opened in Rumbek, in the central-southern part of Sudan. Currently, the UNMAS Field Office in Kadugli, has established a Mine Action co-ordination, threat-assessment, quality assurance and IMSMA capacity.

UNMAS had established a co-ordination function in the Nuba Mountains. As indicated in UN reports, a base for co-ordination and information sharing has been established on the ground. The Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Agency have previously established Mine Action Units within its local administrative areas to assure participatory priority setting among the local population in various southernmost parts of the country.

The UNMAS TA has assumed the role as focal point in planning and co-ordination of the mine action activities related to the response in the Nuba Mountains. DCA-ACT is participating in the widest possible sense in the co-ordination of tasks, providing information, and capacities to address the need. DCA-ACT will prioritise humanitarian needs as a 1st priority.


The Nuba Mountains covers an area of roughly 80,000 square km, in the province of South Kordofan in central Sudan. The Government of Sudan (GOS) controls part of the Nuba Mountains while the Sudan People's Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) controls the other part. The GoS controlled areas are subdivided into five administrative regions: Dilling, Kadugli, Rashad, Abu-Gebaiha and Taodi in South Kordofan State and Lagwa Province in West Kordofan State.

The SPLM/A controlled areas are sub-divided into 7 administrative regions: Dilling, Lagawa, W. Kadugli, Buram, Nagurban, Heiban and Delami that are further divided into 26 Payams consisting of approximately 185 villages.

The area has been a conflict zone between the GoS and SPLM/A since 1985, with the SPLM/A controlling pockets within South Kordofan and Lagawa Province. The SPLM/A areas are mainly rural and mountainous with low agricultural productivity, where basic services are rare and difficult to support. The GoS controlled area is a predominately agricultural region, part of which is home to areas of extensive rain-fed mechanised farming. The area has always been recognised as one of the richest and most fertile in the Sudan. The conflict has resulted in a breakdown of the local agricultural production, particularly in areas close to zones of conflict and especially for communities in the SPLM/A controlled areas.

The DCA-ACT Mine Action Team camp/compound has been located in Umm Serdiba, the only location recognised as being neutral by both parties. This location allows both partners unrestricted access to the camp and the DCA-ACT team. Geographically, Umm Serdiba is located approximately half way between Kadugli and Kauda, the administrative centres for GOS and SPLM respectively.

Humanitarian situation

This proposal is written in support of the United Nations Mine Action Service Emergency Mine Action Plan for the Nuba Mountains (UNMAS 19 April 02) as a response to the "window of opportunity" arising from the cease fire agreement, now entering its second year, between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). There is a continued need for an operational mine action capacity in Nuba Mountains to secure the freedom of movement of local people, communities, and to identify threats to resettlements.

The landmine situation in Sudan has not been comprehensively surveyed. This includes rebel-controlled parts of south Sudan, and other locations such as the Nuba Mountains, southern Blue Nile, and the Red Sea Hills. Following the January 2002 cease-fire, several initial assessments were conducted in the Nuba Mountains (an area hitherto excluded from international humanitarian assistance).

The Joint Military Commission and International Monitoring Unit began initial deployment in mid-April 2002 and called for immediate de-mining of key access routes. There are several plans to collect and collate data from mine-affected communities and regions. SLIRI and UNMAS are planning to establish in-country information centres.

The assessment reports of specific locations, as well as other information provided by a variety of sources, give a fragmentary picture at best of the mine situation in Sudan.

Some findings include:

  • An emergency assessment of the Nuba Mountains area by SLIRI, funded by the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, reports: "The use of [antipersonnel mines] in combat areas is clearly widespread based on the high incidence of injuries within the population which conform to those normally associated with an [antipersonnel mine] detonation."[2

  • World Food Program (WFP) food security calculations suggest up to a million people in southern Sudan could be affected directly and indirectly by mines - half the total estimated in need of food relief. Most affected are the populations inside towns who are prevented from using grazing and cultivation land by surrounding minefields.

  • The Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Organisation (NRRDO) indicates that the south-eastern Nuba counties of Heiban and Nugurban are most heavily contaminated, with three times the number of mine victims of the other five counties. NRRDO food security officer Mohamed Osman claims that 90 percent of fertile land is also unavailable due to the mine situation. He also believes that almost the entire population of the rebel enclave has been affected by the use of landmines, both due to the inability to cultivate in the fertile valleys and by the difficulty in accessing waterpoints. Osman believes the total number affected is around 400,000, over twice the WFP estimates of around 157,000.[23]

  • UNMAS notes that areas "worst affected" by mines include Bahr el Ghazal and Western Upper Nile.[24]

  • The south-eastern region of Eastern Equatoria is reported to be mined and in the opinion of one senior cleric, Juba is the worst affected town in the region, having been mined in the first year of the war (1983) and besieged for almost two decades. Several hundred thousand displaced people have swollen its existing population and they have virtually no access to the countryside.[25] Another senior cleric claims that most of Eastern Equatoria is contaminated by mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO).[26]

  • Referring to the mine situation in Upper Nile, former U.S. State Department Sudan advisor John Prendergast, said "Landmines as a perimeter defense of the oilfield infrastructure will have an adverse impact on the people of that area for the next century, as unexploded ordnance will remain a serious threat to southern Sudanese civilians...."[27] Another source states that the Upper Nile areas of Malakal and Bentiu are very seriously affected.[28]

  • The western portion of southern Sudan is thought to be less contaminated. Although all contested areas and besieged government towns are believed to be mined. According to SIMAS, OSIL and the SPLA, every town captured by the SPLA or government has been defensively mined.

  • Some of the traditional fishing areas around Yirol in Lakes Province have been deserted because of the widespread deployment of mines around the lakes.[29]

The Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) system set up is now capable of receiving and displaying such data.

Over the last several years, a number of local organisations and alliances have been built to address the landmine problem in Sudan. Generally, these organisations have shown great ability to maintain a high activity level with limited resources. The Campaign to Ban Landmines have been recognised by both parties in the conflict The Government of Sudan (GoS) has signed but not yet ratified the Ottawa Treaty. The Sudanese People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) has signed an agreement accepting the Ottawa Treaty as a Non State Party.

Current situation

The DCA-ACT mine action program in Sudan is now in full momentum with the training of a national capacity and operating assets working concurrently.

The program in Sudan suffered a number of delays in the last quarter of 2002. The time it took to export the program equipment from Eritrea, was far longer than expected. In total it took 3 months of negotiations to secure the release of the equipment in Eritrea and ship it to Sudan.

DCA-ACT has established an operational tented camp in Umm Serdiba. The GoS and SPLM/A have recently recognised this area as neutral, thus allowing both local partners access to DCA-ACT. Umm Serdiba is also geographically half way between Kadugli and Kauda, the administrative centres of the Nuba Mountains for GoS and SPLA respectively.

DCA-ACT has always intended to conduct joint training with local partners OSIL (SPLM) and JASMAR (GoS). It took some time for a venue for the joint training to be agreed upon. The SPLM would not recognise the area of Umm Serdiba as neutral, due to the large GoS police presence - a location, which is recognised as neutral by the International community and the GoS.

At the end of 2002, the location of El Bhati was agreed upon as a suitable venue for the training camp, and on the 27 January 2003 a joint training course with de-miners from OSIL and JASMAR started. The importance of this venture cannot be understated; it is a totally unique achievement and one that has proved many members of the National and International communities incorrect, when they said joint training could not and would never be conducted.

Concurrent to the training, DCA-ACT has 4 explosive detection dog teams that are deployed on a route clearance task from the village of Umm Serdiba to El Hamra. This route is considered to be the final section of the 'Humanitarian Highway' into the western Nuba Mountains. This task is the highest priority task identified to date.

It is clear that the emergency phase of the program should be extended until the end of 2003, in order to ensure that local partners are able to take part in the start up, training and further deployment of the teams. This will ensure that they become familiar with the complexity of a de-mining operation.

For the local partners to establish themselves, the training of the OSIL and JASMAR management team will require a detailed program allowing them the opportunity so take part in the training, and deployment of the teams prior to any management training being conducted. This training scheme is anticipated to run until the end of 2003.

The Nuba Mountains is a very challenging environment to work in, both physically and mentally. It is important for the partners to be part of an established program and to be part of the problem solving, in order to get established.

It is DanChurchAid - ACT's aim to contribute to clearance of landmines and ammunition as an integral step in opening land for the benefit of the local population and thus providing access to basic social services and economic activities.


Goal: To reduce the threat posed by landmines and UXO to the population and humanitarian aid staff in Sudan (Outline Concept Plan for Emergency Mine Action in Sudan, par. 15. a., UNMAS 19 April 02). Contributing towards peace and reconciliation and socio-economic improvement for the local population.

Objective: In co-operation with OSIL and SCBL, DCA will continue the training and operation of Emergency Mine Action Capacity in line with the UN Concept Plan and deploy it in the Nuba Mountains.


a) A capacity is immediately available for the UN Emergency Mine Action Plan in Sudan.

b) Two teams of 10 persons each are trained and deployed in co-operation with OSIL and SCBL, systematically executing planned tasks according to International standards and DCA SOP.

c) A trained medical unit is to assist clearance operations for all organisations working under the Nuba Mountains cease-fire agreement (CFA) will be in place.

d) A plan for capacity development of the operational/institutional capacities of our partners is developed and implemented, this will reduce presence of International staff.


The Nuba population is estimated to be approximately 2.5 million people (approximately 9% of the total population of Sudan) scattered all over the country. This is based on an estimation by GoS in 1993. Out of the 2,5 million, approximately 1,2 million are currently living in the Nuba Mountains. The figure is not constant, but varies as movement of people across the lines to either side is largely controlled by the war and other dynamics such as food security. The people of Nuba represent a group of originally disparate, black African ethnic groups, who started to settle in Nuba Mountains over 500 years ago, primarily to avoid the slave traders from the north. A complex interplay of different factors e.g. isolation and social-cultural exchange both internal and external has resulted in an identity characterised by a mixture of cultural traditions, preference of non-hierarchical systems of governance, and religious tolerance where Christians, Muslims and Animists live together peacefully.

The activities proposed in this proposal will be in support of the population and communities in the Nuba Mountains. It will also include tasks and activities in support of peace and relief efforts conducted by other national and international NGO's, various UN agencies and programmes. Tasks may also include clearance and verification, to render safe access and infrastructure support for the Joint Military Command.

(pdf* format - 224 KB)