MAG supported Burundi, one of the world’s poorest countries, in clearing its territory of landmines.
Photo: MAG Burundi
The work of MAG and Burundi’s Civilian Defence department – responsible for humanitarian mine action and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) – opened up safe access to agricultural and grazing land, electric infrastructures, a dam, and cleared high risk areas near schools. Mine risk education was also given to vulnerable communities
MAG trained staff from the Civilian Defence to deal with future dangers from explosives that have failed to detonate or that have been discarded, which continue to jeopardise the security of much of the population.
MAG also cleared contamination from landmines and unexploded ordnance around electricity pylons and former military positions in four provinces. The national electricity provider REGIDESO had been unable to access pylons to conduct essential repair works, putting cities and industrial infrastructure at risk of power failures.
Arms management and destruction
From 2007 to 2013, MAG worked directly with the Police Nationale du Burundi (PNB, Burundian Police) and the Force de Defense Nationale (FDN, Burundian Army), developing the bodies' capacities to safely secure and manage their stocks of small arms and light weapons (SALW).
Following a nationwide survey of army stockpiles, MAG trained and supervised a team from the FDN to destroy surplus and obsolete weapons and ammunition.
In 2009 and 2010, MAG also supported the civilian disarmament campaign by destroying small arms and light weapons surrendered by the population to the Commission for SALW and Civilian Disarmament.
MAG’s contribution helped reduce the risks of accidents (such as ammunition depots explosions) and – by improving the security and the management of SALW – limit the risks of leakage of state-owned weapons into criminal hands, contributing to a decrease in armed violence in Burundian society.
Landmines are generally divided into two main groups - anti-personnel and anti-tank - and have four main component parts: an outer structure made of either plastic, wood, metal, Bakelite, rubber or even glass; a fuse or firing mechanism; a detonator; and high explosives.
Some contain thousands of pieces of shrapnel, designed to fire out to great distances, while others have been made with a minimum amount of metal and are therefore difficult to detect using metal detectors.Explosive Ordnance Disposal'Explosive Ordnance Disposal' (EOD) is the safe removal and controlled destruction of unexploded ordnance.
'Unexploded ordnance' refers to explosive weapons - such as bombs, rockets, missiles, mortars and grenades - that did not explode when they were used and still pose a risk of detonation. Risk EducationRisk Education (or Mine Risk Education) refers to activities that seek to reduce the risk of death and injury from landmines and other explosive weapons, and lessen their social and economic impact.
Risk Education includes the provision of safety messages to at-risk individuals and communities, raising awareness of the dangers and promoting safe behaviour. Unexploded ordnanceExplosive weapons - such as bombs, rockets, missiles, mortars and grenades - that did not explode when they were used and still pose a risk of detonation.Small arms'Small arms' include revolvers, self-loading pistols, rifles and carbines, sub-machine guns, assault rifles, light machine guns.light weapons'Light weapons' include hand-held under-barrel and mounted grenade launchers, heavy machine guns, portable anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns, recoilless rifles, portable launchers of anti-tank missile and rocket systems, portable launchers of anti-aircraft missile systems (MANPADS), mortars of less than 100mm calibre.