On 4 April 2012 The HALO Trust and the Government of Zimbabwe signed a Memorandum of Understanding which authorises HALO to survey and clear the country’s longest belts of barrier minefield.
These belts of landmines are located on Zimbabwe’s northeast border with Mozambique and extend 335km from Musengezi to Rwenya and traverse major border towns including Mukumbura and Nyamapanda. Rhodesian forces laid the mine belts in the late 1970s at a reported concentration of 5,500 landmines per kilometre thus creating one of the longest and densest minefields in the world.
The humanitarian priority of this work is unambiguous and urgent. The landmine situation in Zimbabwe remains very much that of a country in the immediate post-conflict phase with communities still living with the dangers of a war that ended more than thirty years ago. Landmines remain in immediate proximity to houses, schools and clinics; they kill livestock weekly and deny smallholder farmers access to valuable agricultural land; and they separate communities from their water sources. Clearance by HALO will create a safe living and working environment and return land to productive use.
HALO would like to thank Actifonds Mijnen Ruimen for its continuing support in bringing attention to this problem and the Julia Burke Foundation for its commitment to funding clearance. HALO is committed to a full scale demining programme in Zimbabwe and expects to train and deploy many hundreds of deminers during 2012.