This study seeks to chart the drivers and dynamics of peace in the Sudanese states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan to contextually situate mine action, mitigate risks and maximise the benefits of mine clearance for communities and humanitarian actors. This study was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development (DIfD) through the East Africa Research Fund (EARF). The research consortium consisted of SafeLane Gobal, a commercial demining agency; the Policy Institute at King’s College London, a policy research institute; and Mercy Corps Europe, an non governmental organisation (NGO).
Blue Nile and South Kordofan states in Sudan, also known as the Two Areas, have been affected by conflict for many decades. As a result, communities continue to lack access to basic services, such as latrines, accessible health posts, schools, and protected water sources. The conflict has also changed the socio-economic fabric of the areas, causing vast displacement of people seeking refuge from their areas of origin, altering the face of communities and changing how people try to sustain their livelihoods.
Anti-personnel and anti-vehicle landmines have been heavily used by belligerent parties in both Sudan’s civil war and in hostilities since then. Landmines have continued to affect men, women, children and animals alike long after the conflict has ended: they affect communities and people’s livelihoods significantly through injury, death, and forcefully shifted livelihood patterns.
Sudan has since made progress in clearing both anti-personnel and anti-vehicle landmines. However, progress has been slow, particularly in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. In 2018, Sudan was granted an extension to achieve its clearing target by 2023. Conflict made the states inaccessible for years, and as a result mine action has only recently commenced after several decades of inactivity.
The Government of Sudan has committed to clearing Blue Nile and South Kordofan, when security conditions will grant demining agencies full access. This calls for a greater understanding of the many ways in which people and their livelihoods have been affected by mine contamination, and how the use of landmines might have affected tensions between populations. In this study, we seek to provide an empirical base to underpin our understanding of life in the Two Areas, analyse perceptions of mine action in the regions and of agencies tasked with demining, as well as investigate prospects for demining and any ramifications of mine action.