Friday, September 11, 2015


Demining in Mozambique is now reaching its end, and in the period from 2008 to 2014 an area in excess of 54 million square metres was cleared of land mines.Implementation of the National Mine Action Plan (PNA) was discussed on Tuesday at the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet). Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the government spokesperson, Deputy Health Minister Mouzinho Saide, said the clearance occurred in 3,201 separate areas, where the fear of mines had prevented local people from undertaking economic and social activities.Saide said that demining over this period had resulted in the destruction of 85,892 anti-personnel mines, 133 anti-tank mines, 5,148 other items of unexploded ordnance, and 83,792 pieces of ammunition of various calibers.The overall cost of demining in the six year period was about 220 million US dollars, financed by the Mozambican government and its international partners. Land mines had been planted during three conflicts – during the colonial war prior to Mozambican independence in 1975, during the incursions by the Rhodesian armed forces in the late 1970s, and during the war of destabilisation waged by the apartheid regime through the Renamo rebels up to the peace agreement signed in October 1992. There is no evidence that either side used land mines in the most recent conflict, the Renamo mini-insurrection centred on Sofala province in 2013-2014.Mozambique is a signatory to the Ottawa Convention on the prohibition and destruction of anti-personnel land mines. Mozambique joined the Convention in 1999, and had ten years to complete the demining of the entire country. This proved impossible, and so Mozambique requested, and was granted, a five year extension, bringing the deadline to 2014.By the end of 2014, eight provinces had been declared free of land mines – Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Nampula in the north, Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane in the south, and Tete and Zambezia in the centre of the country. They were joined by Sofala in August this year, leaving Manica, also in the central region, as the only province that has not yet been declared land mine free.

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