Milestone achieved in clearance of Explosive Remnants of War in West Darfur
FOROBARANGA, WEST DARFUR - Thousands of people from Forobaranga, West Darfur, gathered to mark a milestone in the safety of their community this week. In an event on 24 April, UNAMID and the National Mine Action Centre joined with locals in Forobaranga town to celebrate the clearance of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and unexploded ordnance (UXO) from all registered contaminated areas in the locality. Participants also welcomed a pilot survey aimed at ensuring the area is kept free of residual ERW and UXO.
The celebration represents the culmination of over nine years of efforts by UNAMID and the centre to clear the land and make it safe for the community use, and is in accordance with UNAMID’s protection of civilian’s mandate.
Fadul El-Haja, the Wali (Governor) of West Darfur, commended UNAMID for its role in the successful completion of the project, which he said contributes towards peace in the area and paves the way for development projects.
Mr. El-Haja highlighted the Government’s commitment to support peace, enhance security and provide the local population with basic services.
Lt. General Ali Salim, State Minister of Defense, praised the Darfuri people for their support of peace and stability. He noted the importance of the entire community being involved in programmes that mitigate the effects of war and contribute towards development.
“As part of our responsibility, we are committed to free Sudan from ERW in line with the Ottawa Treaty,” said Lt. General Salim, referring to the convention signed in 1997 that placed an international ban on anti-personnel mines.
Abdulhamid Naheed, a representative of the local community, commended the role played by all parties towards the clearance of ERW and expressed his hope that development projects would follow.
Oumar Kane, Head of UNAMID Sector West office, reiterated the Mission’s commitment to work with the Government of Sudan and the community to achieve the goals of peace and security in the region. He urged the community to refrain from engaging in conflict, which would re-contaminate the area with ERW and UXO.
Mr. Kane called on locals to be an example of a community that promotes peace and supports development, security and peaceful co-existence among diverse groups of people.
Jeffrey McMurdo, Programme Manager for the UNAMID Ordinance Disposal Office, said that Forobaranga is the first locality in Darfur to complete removal of all reported ERW. This milestone underlines the readiness of UNAMID and the centre, along with State and Local Government, to work together to clear the remaining areas of contamination.
“For nine years UNAMID has been clearing and sometimes re-clearing those parts of Darfur affected by conflict. With the current ceasefires there is hope that there will not be any new ERW,” said Mr. McMurdo.
Similar ERW and UXO clearance projects are planned for the rest of West Darfur.