Sudan

Demined area handed over to community in Kassala state

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A demined area of land around the town of Demen in Kassala state can now be used for safe access to education, water and agriculture.

Using UK Government funding through the Department for International Development (DFID), MAG excavated and destroyed 101 anti-personnel and 26 anti-tank mines within a kilometre of the town’s primary school.

Fifty items of unexploded ordnance (UXO) were also found and destroyed, during seven months of working in the mined areas.

DFID Director for East and Central Africa Donal Brown handed over the land to the community of Demen at a special ceremony last week.

The clearance of this land has greatly reduced the dangers posed by landmines and UXO, for both the students of Demen as well as those living in neighbouring communities, who must travel across contaminated land in order to attend school.

It has also opened access for other humanitarian and development organisations, enabling vital water management and agricultural initiatives to be delivered to the 14,800 strong community.

“My village is two kilometres west of Demen, near to the minefield,” said nine-year-old Adam Hamid Salih, talking to MAG with his friend Hassan Idriss Salih.

“Before MAG came here, I struggled to reach the school – my father needed to come with us every Saturday and leave us in Demen village to live with my uncle due to danger of landmines and UXO.

“But now, after MAG cleared the areas and have provided us with Mine Risk Education, we are aware of the dangers and able to come to school daily.”

Mr Brown said: “I am pleased to be able to hand over the land around the town of Demen, the clearance of which has created a more secure environment for its people and ensured safe access for Demen Basic Primary School.”