United Nations Accelerated De-mining Program: Mozambique

International Information

International Operation Name: United Nations Accelerated De-mining Program: Mozambique

International Mission Name: United Nations Accelerated De-mining Program: Mozambique (UNADP)

Mandating Organization: United Nations

Region Name: Africa

Location: Mozambique

Mission Date: 1 May 1994 - Present

Mission Mandate: The government of Mozambique and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) created the United Nations Accelerated Demining Program (UNADP). The mandate of the UNADP is to develop an indigenous mine clearance capability in Mozambique.

From 1976 to 1992 Mozambique was embroiled in a bitter civil war. On 4 October 1992, the Mozambique government and the Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO) signed a General Peace Agreement. This was followed in early 1993 by a United Nations deployment of peacekeepers and civilians whose tasks included supervision of the peace agreement, demobilizing soldiers and guerrillas, and providing humanitarian assistance. The United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) also initiated the first demining program for Mozambique.

RENAMO and the government are estimated to have laid about 1 million mines during the civil war. Few maps were kept of where these mines were laid. An estimated 562 square kilometres of the country are affected by mines and unexploded ordnance. Initial mine clearance by ONUMOZ was designed to clear major roads and allow the delivery of humanitarian aid and the return of refugees and internally displaced persons. ONUMOZ also created a programme to train demining technicians and supervisors. In May 1994 the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Assistance Coordination (UNOHAC), created by the UN Security Council as the humanitarian component of ONUMOZ, took over this task, hoping to train 450 Mozambicans by the end of 1994.

When ONUMOZ was terminated on 31 January 1995, the Mozambique government, working with the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs, created an Accelerated Demining Program (UNADP). The program had a staff of about 500 Mozambicans. In 1995, the Mozambique government created the National Demining Commission to coordinate landmine-related activities. In 1999, the name was changed to the National Demining Institute (IND).

Despite the demining activities, mines remain a serious problem in Mozambique. The United States State Department reported that between 1992 and 1998 landmines created 10,000 victims in the country. In 1987, 43 percent were women and children who had encountered mines while getting water, planting fields and herding animals. The rate of deaths dropped to 25 per year in 2000; however, the floods of February/March 2000 and February/March 2001 shifted landmines, some as far as 20 km from their original locations. Fishermen were catching mines in their nets.

In 1999, the Director of the IND indicated that a survey had identified 791 mined areas and another 1374 suspected areas. These are integrated into a National Mine Action Plan, which itself is a part of the National Mine Action Strategy. The UN ADP is not, however, part of the national program.

International support for the UNADP has involved both military and non-governmental organizations. Militarily, Australia, Canada and New Zealand have sent engineers to Mozambique. New Zealand contributes two military engineers to the UNADP, one as Chief Technical Advisor and one as Training Technical Advisor. Australia withdrew its last two soldiers in early 2002 after an eight-year contribution to the UNADP.

The UNADP had 10 platoons totaling 450 deminers, 15 supervisors, four survey teams, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, and demining instructors. The emphasis of the UNADP is on training a fully-developed local mine clearing capability. Since 1992, over 54,000 mines have been removed from 10,570 hectares of land, 7718 kms of road and 1824 kms of power lines.

Canadian Forces (CF) Information (MODULE)


Date: 12 March 1999 - 15 May 2000

CF Mission/Operation Notes: Canada has been an active participant in the demining effort in Mozambique. The Canadian International Demining Centre, with support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), conducted a survey, the results of which were released in June 2001. A further survey was conducted due to the floods of 2001.

CIDA has also been supporting an integrated mine action project of the Canadian Auto Workers and Co-operation Canada Mozambique. CIDA and the CAW have each provided $1.25 million over three years.

The Canadian Forces have also participated in CIDA’s efforts. In early 1998, at the request of the UNDP, CIDA asked the CF to provide three personnel to the UN ADP for a one-year period. After a reconnaissance was conducted to determine what manner of activity was expected, the Minister of National Defence approved the request in late October 1998.

On 18 March 1999, the tasking order for Operation MODULE was promulgated. One engineer captain, one field engineer warrant officer and one geomatics technician warrant officer were tasked on a one-year posting, under the name Task Force Mozambique. The captain arrived in Mozambique on 11 April while the warrant officers arrived several weeks later.

Once in Mozambique, all three taught courses related to demining and the associated use of computer technology, as well as producing Standing Operating Procedures. The warrant officers also conducted surveys with members of the UN ADP as part of on-the-job training. The captain also visited the mine action centres in Croatia and Kosovo to exchange information and brief these centres on CF activities in Mozambique. After the heavy rains of February and March 2000, the members of Op Module provided information to Canada on the situation in Mozambique, which greatly assisted in the delivery of Canadian humanitarian aid in early March.

The three members of Op Module returned to Canada at staggered intervals, between 31 March and mid-May.

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