Sudan

UN Mine Action Office Sudan: Newsletter Autumn 2008

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UNMAO continues to assist rescue efforts in Abyei

Following the violence between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLM) in May, UNMAO established a temporary base in Abyei to coordinate mine action activities and deployed assets to destroy Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) left in a specific area in the township of Abyei.

The Egyptian Military Demining Company destroyed a stockpile of about 4,800 abandoned munitions and Mine Risk Education (MRE) was provided to Internally Displaced People (IDPs) from Abyei in the area of Muglad and Agok.

UNMAO tasked Danish Church Aid (DCA) to conduct survey, technical survey, battle area clearance and explosive ordnance disposal in the area through the deployment of Multitask (MTT) and MRE teams.

Since several UN agencies and NGO compounds had been looted during the conflict, it was necessary to physically lift all rubble and materials to ensure no ERW are missed. DCA successfully cleared the GOAL, Save the Children and Médecins Sans Frontières compounds, with a total area of 31,086 m2.

DCA also conducted the General Mine Action Assessment of 14 different locations (incl. UNICEF, WFP and UNDP compounds, and established that further technical survey and battle area clearance were needed.

Finally DCA collected and disposed of a total of 72 ERW at the end of September.

Swedish mine clearance team deploys in Abyei

At the request of UNMAO, the Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRSA) has sent a four-person Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team to conduct a series of ERW spot tasks in Abyei. The team will remain in the area until the end of 2008, in support of humanitarian activities for the return and reintegration of IDPs affected by the fighting. While the rainy season is officially over, some areas are still wet and the grass is too tall for clearance operations to resume in parts of Abyei. The Mine Action Committee, coordinated through the UNMIS head of office in Abyei, will compile all requests for work and define the priorities.

The Swedish EOD team will start by clearing ERW that have been reported at the UNICEF and UNDP compounds. They will also work on various NGOs and government compounds, as well as on Abyei's secondary schools and the Return, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration (RRR) centres for IDPs.

The SRSA team is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), an UNMAO partner since 2004.