Thursday, December 18, 2014


The western Mozambican province of Tete on Wednesday was formally declared free of land lines.According to Alberto Augusto, director of the National Demining Institute (IND), speaking at a ceremony in Chitima, in Cahora Bassa district, during the demining operations, 74,915 anti-personnel mines were destroyed, and about five million square metres of land (equivalent to 467 football fields) was released for productive use.The operations also discovered three anti-tank mines, 389 other items of unexploded ordnance, and 134 small caliber munitions.In its National Mine Action Plan for 2008-2014, the IND described Tete as the most mined province in the country. The mines uncovered in Tete account for about 85 per cent of the mines destroyed throughout the country.There were two main areas where the land mines were concentrated – along the 11 kilometre perimeter protecting the Cahora Bassa dam, and along a stretch of 15 kilometres on the border with Zimbabwe. The lengthy and complex demining operations in Tete involved the three main humanitarian mine clearance operators working in Mozambique – Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), the Halo Trust and Apopo – and more than ten commercial operators.Eight provinces and 123 districts have now been declared free of mines. The mine-free provinces are Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, Tete, Zambezia, Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado.According to Augusto all that remains to be done is to clear “a few square metres of land where the presence of anti-personnel mines is suspected in five districts in Manica and Sofala provinces”. He expected the work in Manica and Sofala to end in the first quarter of 2015. Mozambique is a party to the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel landmines. It ratified the treaty in 1999, and had ten years to completely demine the country. This proved impossible, and so Mozambique sought and was granted a five year extension, to 2014.

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