Sudan: UN de-miners and partners destroy thousands of mines as more areas cleared

1 March 2007 – United Nations de-miners and their aid agency partners in south Sudan have destroyed thousands of mines and other unexploded ordnance over the past few months, including clearing the customs market in Juba, the UN mission to the country said today, reporting also on more fighting and displacement in the conflict-wracked Darfur region.

The UN Mine Action Office (UNMAO), working alongside international non-governmental organizations, recently reported clearing over a third of almost 2,000 identified dangerous areas, and in the process destroying 1,150 anti-tank mines, around 2,600 anti-personnel mines and over 500,000 items of other ordnance, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said.

UNMAO’s operations will continue this year and $56 million has been earmarked to fund de-mining programmes, the main focus of which will not only be to expand the areas cleared but also to follow-up on the Office’s mine risk education efforts, including distributing information kits to refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

UNMAO will also help develop the capacity of national mine action institutions, such as the National Mine Action Authority (NMAA) and the Southern Sudan Demining Authority (SSDA), UNMIS reports.

Separately, in strife-torn Darfur, continued tribal fighting in the southern part of the region has forced more families to flee to the Teiba IDP camp, it adds.

Yesterday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon painted his grimmest picture yet of the humanitarian and security situation in Darfur as he reiterated the urgent need for a ceasefire and called for “dialogue and negotiation” from all sides.

In his latest report to the Security Council, which covered the past three months through January, Mr. Ban in particular condemned the recent aerial bombings by the Government and the arrest and physical abuse of international humanitarian staff by local police.

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