Some of the 30 technicians trained in August, with MAG Iraq's Technical Field Manager. [Photos: MAG Iraq]
MAG Iraq’s newly-formed mobile Small Arms and Light Weapons destruction project safely removed and destroyed more than 3,000 items in its opening two weeks.
MAG Iraq has established this dedicated, specialised technical and Community Liaison capacity as part of its conflict recovery and peace building programme, with funding from the US State Department's Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement.
SALW emergency response technicians receive training.
Six Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) emergency response teams – each of which includes four Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians plus a team leader – and three Community Liaison teams were recruited from local communities and trained in August.
Community Liaison teams will be working with communities affected by SALW contamination, and with other conflict recovery organisations in the region, to identify and prioritise instances of SALW contamination. The expert mobile teams will then travel to the sites to safely remove and destroy the items.
As part of its SALW outreach campaign, MAG has established a local hotline number for communities to report incidents of SALW contamination. Through advertising and community liaison, MAG is promoting the ‘DIAL 234’ campaign. Phoning this number will put SALW-affected individuals and communities in direct contact with the MAG Iraq SALW teams.
The SALW emergency response and Community Liaison teams on completion of their training.
The project will remove a direct threat to communities which are forced to live in close proximity to dangerous and unstable explosive ordnance. By removing unguarded and unsecured stockpiles and caches of explosives, the project will also help to build security and peace in Iraq and the wider region.
The need for such a dedicated highly skilled capacity is demonstrated by the team’s performance so far. They have responded to 53 tasks in just two weeks, safely removing and destroying more than 3,000 items of SALW. These items contained over one ton of high explosive, which has now been safely and permanently destroyed.
19 September 2007