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Mozambique

Last Updated: 30 October 2013

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact

The Republic of Mozambique is affected by mines and explosive remnants of war (ERW); a legacy of nearly 30 years of conflict that ended in 1992.[1]

Mines

Mozambique has made considerable progress in clearing mined areas and, as of May 2013, planned to complete all clearance by the end of 2014. The 2006–2007 Baseline Survey identified 541 suspected hazardous areas (SHAs) covering 12.2km2 in Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Maputo, Sofala, and Tete provinces. Since 2007, surveys have identified a further 542 SHAs not captured in the baseline survey covering a total of 22.2km2. These results, combined with the baseline survey, almost tripled the original total estimated contaminated area to 34.4km2 across 1,053 SHAs.[2] As of April 2013, there were 9.26km2 remaining, and by March 2014 it is planned that less than 3km2 will be remaining.[3]

In 2012, Niassa, Cabo Delgado, and Gaza provinces were declared mine free.[4] As of January 2013, five of the 10 provinces and 101 of Mozambique’s 128 districts had been declared mine-free, leaving 27 districts in five provinces as contaminated as of January 2013. Although approximately 82% of the remaining tasks are in Sofala and Inhambane provinces, it is planned that only 13 mined areas covering 2.88km2 near the border with Zimbabwe in Manica and Tete provinces will remain by March 2014, and clearance of these border minefields is planned to be completed by the end of 2014.[5]

Mined areas remaining, by province, as of January 2013[6]

 

 

Baseline tasks remaining

Non-baseline tasks remaining

Total tasks remaining

Province

Districts

Number of areas

Amount of areas (m2)

Number of areas

Amount of areas (m2)

Number of areas

Amount of areas (m2)

Sofala

8

31

416,180

116

4,579,593

147

4,995,773

Inhambane

6

36

370,103

22

749,760

58

1,119,863

Manica

5

3

365,784

17

2,015,709

20

2,381,493

Tete

5

0

0

13

1,488,204

13

1,488,204

Maputo

3

0

0

11

872,658

11

872,658

Total

27

70

1,152,067

179

9,705,924

249

10,857,991

Cluster munition remnants

In its initial Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 report, Mozambique indicated that the extent of areas contaminated by cluster munitions is not known. It reported that a small number of cluster munitions, including both RBK-250 containers and unexploded submunitions such as Rhodesian manufactured Alpha bomblets, were found from 2005–2012 in the Guro district in Manica province, in the Boane district in Maputo province, in the Mabalane district in Gaza province, and in the Changara and Chifunde districts in Tete province; all of these cluster munitions were destroyed.[7]

In 2012, HALO Trust (HALO) and Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) found a combined 25 Alpha bomblets in three locations in Tete province. While the complete scope of the cluster munition contamination remains unknown and more survey is required to identify the exact extent of the problem, the National Demining Institute (IND) believes cluster munition use in Mozambique was limited and that clearance of unexploded submunitions can be managed within the scope of the existing mine action program.[8]

IND reported that no accidents were recorded involving cluster munitions in 2012.[9]

Other explosive remnants of war

ERW incidents occur in rural areas in the course of normal community activities, such as food and water collection, farming, herding, or household work.[10] IND believes addressing the ERW problem will present challenges for the government for many years after mine clearance is completed in 2014. As mine clearance is close to completion, IND is considering ways to inform the public on ERW and what to do when an unexploded ordinance (UXO) is found, including information on whom to notify.[11]

The mine action program in Mozambique has provided direct support to the poverty reduction program in Mozambique, known as PARP; it has also provided development investment by clearing mined areas in support of mining, agriculture, and has contributed to infrastructure building including power lines, roads, dams, bridges, and railroads.[12]

Mine Action Program

Key institutions and operators

Body

Situation on 1 January 2013

National Mine Action Authority

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mine action center

National Demining Institute (IND)

International demining operators

NGOs: APOPO, HALO Trust, Handicap International (HI), and NPA

National demining operators

Mozambique Armed Forces

Commercial companies: Mine Kills, MF Investimentos, Moprotector, Monechecha, DAG (Demining and Agriculture), Namacoma

IND serves as the mine action center in Mozambique under the supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is mandated to coordinate and oversee implementation of demining programs, including quality assurance, quality control, and information management.[13]

Provincial demining commissions have been created that include the Directorate of Planning and Finance, the Provincial Police Command, and the army. Other sectors are represented on the commissions, depending on the province. For instance, the Inhambane commission includes representatives from the tourist industry, while in Tete the mineral resources sector is represented on the commission.[14]

UNDP has provided technical assistance since 1999. From 2008 to 2011, the structure and position of the UNDP international technical advisor was supported under the project “Weapons Risk Mitigation and Mainstreaming Mine Action, Small Arms and Light Weapons Controls 2008–2011;”[15] it is currently supported by the “Support to the National Demining Programme 2012–2015.” The UN Development Assistance Framework for Mozambique (UNDAF) 2012–2015 lists supporting Mozambique to meet its Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 obligations as part of its disaster relief and risk reduction efforts.[16]

Mozambique has four international mine clearance operators: APOPO, HALO, HI, and NPA.[17] NPA’s mine action team returned to Mozambique in July 2012 to conduct clearance and provide technical support in information management to IND’s database team.[18]

Post-2014

At a demining workshop in Maputo from 5–6 November 2013, donors, operators, and the government of Mozambique considered the issue of future employment for the personnel of the demining community after all the mined areas are cleared. In addition to IND, there are currently over 1,500 deminers and support staff employed by the NGOs and commercial companies working in the mine action area. UNDP planned to conduct a labor market survey to examine job opportunities for the various skills of mine action employees. While the UNDP study was welcomed, some of the participants cautioned that such surveys can raise false hopes and that productivity near the end of a program can present operational challenges, if not addressed. Participants suggested IND and UNDP explore employment outcomes from Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) programs as well as examining mine action program closures in other countries for possible approaches that could be applied in Mozambique. The workshop recognized that in preparation for completion, IND should clarify that working in mine action did not automatically entitle staff to future employment, but it should assist staff in finding new jobs.[19]

Land Release

Mozambique released 8.6km2 in 2012 through a combination of survey and clearance conducted on 255 tasks. During clearance operations, 9,053 antipersonnel mines and 1,126 UXO were found.[20] In 2012, IND declared 20 districts and Niassa, Cabo Delgado, and Gaza provinces mine free, bringing the total number of mine free districts to 101 out of 128.[21]

Mozambique’s “Mine Free District Assessment” process requires operators to assess whether there are any remaining SHAs in each district before moving to the next district. The Mine Free District Assessment is a technical process of community liaison and post-clearance assessment to confirm that all communities have no remaining mined areas.[22] If the community does not report contamination, it is determined to be free of mined areas. Utilizing the district-by-district approach, the government brought the number of mine free districts at the end of 2012 to 101 out of the 128 districts, meaning there are no known mined areas remaining in these districts. This includes five (Gaza, Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Niassa, and Zambezia) out of the 10 provinces in the country.

From 2009–2012, 983 areas were released after survey and clearance, resulting in the release of 28.7km2. This included 11.2km² of the 12.2km2 identified in the 2007/2008 Baseline Survey as well as 17.5km2 identified through surveys during the “Mine Free District Assessment” process. During this period, 20,479 landmines and 3,780 items of UXO were located and destroyed.[23]

Mine clearance in 2012–2013

IND has organized its demining operations by assigning provinces to the NGOs and developing a work plan based on a district-by-district approach to clearance; the goal is to complete clearance of an entire district before moving on to the next one. In 2012, HI operated in the provinces of Inhambane and Sofala; in 2013, HI was also assigned tasks in Mossurize District in Manica. In 2012, APOPO worked in Gaza and two districts in Manica province; in 2013 they are working in Moamba district in Maputo province, Tambara, and Gondola districts in Manica, Cheringoma district in Sofala, and Moatize district in Tete. HALO worked in Maputo, Manica, and Tete provinces. NPA began training demining teams and, in September 2012, commenced mine clearance operations in Tete province; in 2013, NPA also started working in Manica province.[24]

IND reported that in 2012 a total of 8.6km2 of SHA/confirmed hazardous area (CHA) was released by NGOs, the Mozambique army, and local commercial companies. The NGOs cleared 7.2km2 while conducting 205 tasks. Mozambique’s Armed Forces cleared one mined area in Gaza province covering 14,328m2, clearing 112 antipersonnel mines and 51 UXO. Six companies were awarded contracts after a tendering process and cumulatively cleared 15 mined areas covering 1.41km2, clearing 15 antipersonnel mines and 59 UXO.[25]

Clearance results in 2012[26]

Operators

No. of mined areas

Area cleared (m2)

APMs destroyed

UXO destroyed

HI

90

3,787,659

638

145

HALO

87

1,022,011

7,755

671

APOPO

22

2,111,762

528

138

NPA

6

273,215

5

62

Armed Forces

1

14,328

112

51

6 Companies

15

1,405,166

15

59

Total

221

8,614,141

9,053

1,126

APMs = antipersonnel mines

From January–April, Mozambique cleared another 1.4km2, finding 4,155 antipersonnel mines and 292 UXO.[27]

HALO completed a survey of the Zimbabwe border in 2009 and confirmed there were 22.7 linear kilometers of border minefields and seven minefields covering two linear kilometers that are entirely inside Mozambique’s territory. The combined total of 24.7 linear kilometers is 14 linear kilometers more than identified in the 2007 baseline survey. Further complicating clearance plans to complete clearance by the 31 of December 2014 are another 74 linear kilometers of minefields that straddle the border in both Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The border minefields entirely inside Mozambique territory and those that straddle the border have been divided into 13 tasks covering 2,884,900m2.[28]

Border minefields

Province

No. of Districts

No. of mined areas

Area (m2)

Manica

3

10

1,687,034

Tete

2

3

1,197,900

Total

5

13

2,884,934

Based on the pace of past clearance operations in Mozambique, the task of clearing 2.88km2 with four operators appears to be feasible over a 10-month period. However, there are new operational challenges with the dense but clearly defined mined areas on the border. Some of the border minefields were reinforced with ploughshare fragmentation mines, which means the metal contamination in the ground will add an additional layer of complication to manual demining. The Rhodesian Security Forces laid mines in areas averaging 30 meters wide, with some containing minimal metal mines such as the R2M2 antipersonnel landmine.[29]

Much of the border lies on remote and mountainous terrain, making accessibility perhaps the biggest challenge. Of the 74.1 linear kilometers of minefields that straddle the border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe, only 19.1km can be easily accessed from Mozambique. The other 51km is more easily accessible from Zimbabwe with seven of the 13 border minefields being exclusively accessible from Zimbabwe. This necessitates close coordination with Zimbabwe’s authorities on cross-border movements to reach them.[30] As of May 2013, the respective ministries of foreign affairs were negotiating a memorandum of understanding to facilitate the clearance of the border areas in Mozambique territory by December 2014 that would allow free movement of deminers and equipment across borders without visas and customs duties and that would include a protocol for medical evacuation.[31]

Both manual and mechanical demining will be utilized at the border, with some additional equipment needed. IND calculates that with four operators for 10 months, the 13 border minefields can be cleared for approximately US$8.65 million, or $3 per square meter. IND estimates an associated cost of $1.25 million for quality assurance, information management, coordination, and development of a national capacity to respond to the residual UXO and ERW.[32]

Compliance with Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty (and in accordance with the five-year extension request granted in 2008), Mozambique is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 March 2014. At the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in May 2012, Mozambique stated that its mine action program needed $17 million in 2012 if it was to stay on course to meet its 2014 deadline.[33] However, by December 2012 Mozambique determined they would need a second extension request, and in May 2013 they submitted the request asking for an additional 10 months (until December 2014).

Even though the plan to clear the border area in 10 months is based on the available clearance capacity from four operators, as well as on evidence and experience, the viability of a 10-month extension can only be addressed after August 2013, when IND expects to receive preliminary results of non-technical and technical surveys of the border minefields, as well as additional information from Zimbabwe. IND may adjust the cost and time needed under the plan after March 2014, following an agreement on cross-border issues with Zimbabwe and the completion of the non-technical surveys.

Determining the number of mined areas has been a challenging exercise in Mozambique. Its first Article 5 deadline extension request and the National Mine Action Plan were formulated based on the information contained in the 2008 Baseline Survey. The Baseline Survey was intended to be a comprehensive assessment of the remaining work to be done in the six southern and central provinces based on the consolidation of a number of older surveys that existed at the time, thereby theoretically reducing duplications of SHAs and CHAs. In addition, a number of infrastructure sites and the border area with Zimbabwe had not yet been surveyed at the time of the extension request, but surveying them was an important task listed in the extension request.

The 2007 Baseline Survey was the basis for the estimated annual clearance goals (presented in its first extension request of 2008) to clear 541 tasks by 2014. Since Mozambique submitted that extension request in 2008, it has identified approximately 500 additional SHAs through the Mine Free District Assessment, which almost tripled the amount of area needed to be cleared from 12.2km2 to 34.4km2. While IND expected the surveys of infrastructure sites to increase the amount of area to clear, they were surprised by how much the baseline survey underestimated the remaining problem in the villages of the southern and central districts outside the infrastructure sites. As more district surveys were completed, it became apparent that the remaining problem was almost three times larger than that estimated by the baseline survey. However, the operators were able to increase clearance capacity, which enabled Mozambique to avoid falling behind its annual targets.[34]

Mozambique plans to complete clearance of all mined areas by March 2014 with the exception of the 13 mined areas on the border with Zimbabwe. The second extension request from March–December 2014 is to clear the remaining 13 tasks covering 2.88km2 in five districts in Manica and Tete provinces along the long border with Zimbabwe.

NGO areas of operation in 2014 on the border with Zimbabwe[35]

Operator

Province

No. of Districts

No. of Tasks

Area (m2)

NPA

Manica

2

8

1,317,434

HI

Manica

1

2

369,600

HALO

Tete

1

2

766,500

APOPO

Tete

1

1

431,400

Total

 

5

13

2,884,934

Cluster munition clearance in 2012[36]

In 2012, NPA and HALO found cluster submunitions during battle area clearance (BAC) and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD).

In October/November 2012, NPA conducted BAC covering 229,541m2 near Chiloue community in Chifunde district in Tete province, finding one Alpha bomblet. HALO destroyed 18 Alpha bomblets during EOD call-outs in Chivingue community in Changara district in Tete province and found six Alpha bomblets in Monoquere community in Gondola district in Manica province.

Compliance with Article 4 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Under Article 4 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Mozambique is required to destroy all cluster munition remnants in areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 September 2021.

In its initial Article 7 report submitted in July 2012, Mozambique stated that it required technical assistance in determining the extent of any cluster munition-contaminated area, including a request to former users to provide information on possible locations and type of cluster munition remnants. Mozambique has stated it may need until 2021 to clear all cluster munition remnants, largely because they do not know the full extent of the problem.[37]

Quality management

Each clearance operator has its own internal quality management system. IND is responsible for quality management at a national level, conducting random quality assurance visits on all active tasks and random sampling and inspection of completed sites.[38] In 2012, IND conducted 166 quality assurance tasks.[39]

 



[2] Statement of Mozambique, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 28 May 2013.

[3] Ibid.

[4] National Demining Institute (IND), 2012 Annual Report, Draft, March 2013, p.32.

[6] Ibid., p. 18.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] IND, “International Workshop on Demining in Mozambique: Workshop Summary,” Maputo, 5–6 November 2012, p. 6.

[11] Ibid., pp. 6–7.

[12] IND, “National Demining Plans 2008–2012;” and IND, “Addressing the Landmine and ERW Situation After 2014,” presentation at International Workshop on Demining, Maputo, 5–6 November 2012.

[13] UN, “2011 Portfolio of Mine Action Projects,” New York, March 2011, p. 229.

[14] Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), “Transitioning Mine Action Programmes to National Ownership: Mozambique,” Geneva, March 2012.

[15] Ibid., p. 18.

[17] IND, 2012 Annual Report, Draft, March 2013, p. 9.

[18] Statement of Mozambique, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 22 May 2012; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2011), Form C.

[19] IND, “International Workshop on Demining in Mozambique: Workshop Summary,” Maputo, 5–6 November 2012, p. 5; and UNDP, “Supporting Livelihoods and Employment Opportunities for Deminers in Mozambique,”

presentation at International Workshop on Demining in Mozambique, Maputo, 5–6 November 2012.

[20] IND, 2012 Annual Report, Draft, March 2013, p. 4.

[21] Ibid., pp. 17 and 32.

[22] APOPO, “Annual Report 2010,” June 2011, p. 8.

[23] IND, 2012 Annual Report, Draft, March 2013, pp. 11–13.

[24] Email from IND, 24 June 2013.

[25] They are DAG, MF Investimento, Mine Kills, Monechecha, Moprotector, and Namacoma.

[26] IND, 2012 Annual Report, Draft, March 2013, pp. 11–12.

[27] Statement of Mozambique, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 28 May 2013.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid., p. 22.

[32] Ibid., pp. 21–22.

[33] Statement of Mozambique, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 22 May 2012.

[34] Email from Hans Risser, UNDP, 23 July 2012.

[37] Ibid., Form I, 9 July 2012.

[38] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Aderito Ismael, HI, 26 March 2012.

[39] IND, 2012 Annual Report, Draft, March 2013, p. 15.