Important Road Reopens In DRC After Being Cleared Of Unexploded Ordnance
An important trade route in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been declared free of landmines and other explosive items following a six-month clearance effort by MAG.
Photos: MAG DRC
A demining team conducted meticulous clearance work on a 33km stretch of the R630, which connects the villages of Kabwela and Kakuyu in Katanga Province, that was suspected to be contaminated by landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO).
During six months of work funded by the Japanese Government, our technical experts found and destroyed almost 300 UXO items, including mortars and small arms ammunition.
Now that the route is safe, people will be able to work the fields again and transport crops to the local Kabalo market and beyond.
The closure of the road has had a terrible impact on social and economic life
“The closure of the road has had a terrible impact on the social and economic life of the population in Kabalo, where the provision of agricultural products was made impossible,” explained the Administrator of the Kabalo Territory, Hubert Kanza Vumba, at a ceremony to mark the road reopening on 14 March.
The Kakuyu area is an important provider of crops not only to Kabalo but also to the surrounding territories, including Kalemie to the east and Mbuji Mayi in the neighbouring province to the west.
Villages along the Kabwela-Kakuyu road will also now benefit from other humanitarian assistance, with the Food and Agricultural Organisation and World Food Programme able to extend their Purchase For Progress project – which enables farmers, especially women, to grow and sell more – to previously inaccessible places.
“The opening of the Kabwela-Kakuyu road is the result of a great effort by MAG’s technical team – please receive our profound gratitude,” added Mr Vumba.
After a final check by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), the road was declared free of mines and explosive items on 6 March 2015.
3,000 dangerous items destroyed
The clearance of this section of the Kabwela-Kakuyu road is part of a 12-month project financed by the Japanese Government.
Over the course of the project, MAG’s technical team has destroyed more than 3,000 dangerous explosive items found in villages and surrounding fields and woods, including mortars, rockets, grenades and an anti-tank mine.
In addition, MAG’s Community Liaison team alerted the local population to the risks of such items, conducting more than 400 risk education sessions.
MAG in DRC
Since 2004, MAG has created safe and secure conditions for long-term development, sustainable livelihoods and recovery in DRC by working with national partners to reduce the risk of death and injury, through education and the release of formerly contaminated land.
MAG currently implements projects in Kinshasa, Katanga, Equateur, Kasaï Occidental, North and South Kivu.
We work closely together with the national mine action authority, Centre Congolais pour la Lutte Antimine (CCLAM) and United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in DRC, and coordinate activities with other humanitarian and development actors.
As part of its effort to assist the DRC in fulfilling their commitments under the Ottawa Convention – that is to clear the country of all landmines by 2020 – the Japanese Government provided MAG with $632,010 to undertake this project, which marks the second year of Japanese funding for MAG.
Photo gallery: Fear & Hope in DRC
Landmine clearance, education projects and weapons security in the Democratic Republic of Congo...
Page published: 17 March 2015