MAG in the Democratic Republic of Congo

EXPLOSIVE ITEMS DESTROYED IN 2015

37,425

RISK EDUCATION SESSIONS IN 2015

2,286

ARMOURIES & MUNITIONS STORES

33

PEOPLE WE HELPED DIRECTLY IN 2015

121,760

The DRC’s chronic and complex humanitarian crisis is exacerbated by landmine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination. Terrible humanitarian consequences also come from the ready availability of arms and ammunition, which contributes to conflict, crime and instability.

Women walk past a minefield in DRC.

Villagers head back home after working in a field close to a mined area in Bas-Congo province.

Photo: Sean Sutton/MAG

The problems

Why MAG is in D.R. Congo

Large parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are contaminated by landmines, cluster munitions and other unexploded ordnance (UXO).

These deadly weapons maim and kill, and present a barrier to recovery and development by blocking access to agricultural land and infrastructure.

A landmine-free DRC is within reach. It is now estimted that with the right level of donor support, completion could be achieved well in advance of 2020. 

Arms and ammunition

Unsafe ammunition storage increases the risk of  unplanned explosions, as in Mbuji Mayi in 2014 when 21 civilians were killed and more than 50 injured in a massive blast at a depot. 

In addition, diversion of state-held stocks of weapons and ammunition to the illicit market contributes to a high level of arms proliferation, particularly in eastern DRC. The ready availability of arms means they are too frequently used as the violent response to tensions and disputes.

The urgent need to enhance stockpile security and accountability of arms and ammunition was emphasised in January 2015 by the UN  Security Council Resolution 2198  echoing previous resolutions and the  2013 Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC

 

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How MAG is helping in D.R. Congo

Focusing on Equateur and Katanga provinces, MAG surveys and clears areas of mines and UXO – and responds to reports of dangerous items – to reduce the threat to communities and facilitate access to land and other resources.

In 2015, an important road in eastern DRC was cleared, to help development organisations better deliver life-saving humanitarian projects – including access to water and health infrastructure – and contribute to the overall advancement of the area.

MAG also conducts Community Liaison activities in partnership with the Congolese Red Cross, enabling them to gain official accreditation to implement these activities. Deploying with the Red Cross ensures that this capacity will remain within the country, broadening the national skill set and providing employment opportunities.

Arms Management and Destruction

MAG’s comprehensive arms management and destruction programme includes the construction and ehabilitation of ammunition depots and storage facilities, destruction of weapons and ammunition, and training of personnel in safe and secure management of weapons and ammunition. 

In Kisangani and Bukavu, for example, MAG has constructed ammunition depots to enable safe and secure storage of ammunition in line with international standards. The Kisangani depot has also been used as the basis for training in ammunition stockpile management of military personnel throughout the country. 

Established by MAG, the weapons cutting base in Kinshasa ensures that unserviceable weapons are destroyed to prevent them being stolen or trafficked on the illicit market. A unique facility in DRC, it is now successfully maintained and managed by national authorities. Thousands of weapons are destroyed there each year.

Weapons cutting in Kinshasa

Weapons are destroyed in Kinshasa. All of MAG’s arms management and destruction work is carried out under the principle of national ownership. This means that MAG doesn’t try to address the insecure and poorly stored arms independently; it supports national authorities to do so.