February 15, 2011

Hopes to be free of land mines by 2014

The Mozambican authorities believe it is possible to complete the demining of the country by 2014, if the international community provides the funding needed to support the government's efforts to remove land mines. According to the director of the National Demining Institute (IND), Julio Braga, the government allocated annually about three million US dollars from the state budget for demining operations. The contributions from donors are in addition to this. The money available, Braga added, had made it possible to demine about two million square metres of land a year.

Moreover, Agostinho Chavana of the Ministry of Planning and Development believes that Mozambique would have enough funding to meet the deadline to complete demining, under the terms of the Ottawa Convention on the banning of anti-personnel land mines. "The fact that Mozambique manages to clear land mines from rather more than two million square metres of land a year allows us to conclude that the task can be finished by 2014, since there are about eight million square metres still to be demined", said Chavana. He said that Mozambique remained focused on clearing the remaining areas, and hen preparing to deal with quality control and post-2014 "residual demining'.

The IND's programme is to clear by 2013 a total of 531 mined areas, and to investigate and demine 33 roads, other installations, and frontier areas, suspected of being mined. It must also dispose of the mines and unexploded ordnance already discovered at 146 places in Niassa, Cabo Delgado, Nampula and Zambezia provinces. (AIM)

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