At least 105.7 square km of dangerous areas and 37,898 km of roads in Sudan have been cleared of various types of landmines and unexploded ordinances (UXOs) by the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the Sudanese National Mine Action Centre (NMAC).
The clearing provides unhindered passage and the freedom to cultivate land and graze livestock to hundreds of thousands of people living in fear of mine accidents, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan reports in its latest biweekly bulletin.
In a meeting with the donor community and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, UNMAS and NMAC said that 20 per cent of known contaminations remain to be handled, most in conflict-torn South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
The meeting served to launch Sudan’s pledge for an extension to their time-bound commitment to clear the country of landmines and UXOs for good, previously set for the end of 2018, but the hand-over of the Sudan Mine Action chairmanship from Italy to the USA was celebrated.
Albeit improved, nine out of 18 Sudanese states are affected by landmines and explosives remnants of war (ERWs), according to UNMAS. Being laid since before 1956, when Sudan became independent, NMAC, with support from UNMAS, found and destroyed 10,275 anti-personnel mines, 3,237 anti-tank mines, and 83,774 UXOs, clearing the way for agricultural activities and the free movement of people and goods.
Kassala is next on the list of states to be declared free of known landmines, said UNMAS.
The ERW situation is most uncertain in Darfur, which is considered free of traditional anti-personnel mines, but is known to host thousands of UXOs.
No less important is the issue of the destruction of weapons currently being collected by Sudan’s security forces in a bid to disarm non-state actors, the OCHA bulletin reads.