The Ordnance Disposal Office was created in June 2011 to carry out the mine action component within UNAMID. Before, it was part of the UN Mine Action Office in Sudan that was established in 2005, known under the name of Western Region UN Mine Action Office (WR-UNMAO). ODO currently consists of a headquarters in El Fasher, five sector offices (El Daen, El Fasher, El Geneina, Nyala, Zallingei) and a support office in Khartoum.
UNAMID ODO works in direct support of UNAMID priorities to create a safe environment for the civilian population of Darfur. ODO also contributes to the security and freedom of movement of UNAMID personnel and humanitarian workers through survey and clearance activities, demolition of unexploded ordnance, and provision of UXO risk education activities to populations at risk delivered by its staff in three sector offices.
Weapons and Ammunitions Management
In the past two decades over 400 events involving unplanned explosions at ammunition sites were recorded in 92 countries worldwide, in Africa alone 64 events occurred in 22 countries. The human cost is enormous, in the same period over 5000 killed and 10,000 injured and the UN is not immune, in Sierra Leone in 2002 six Zambian peacekeepers were killed and 12 injured in an explosion at an ammunition storage facility. The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has established Weapon and Ammunition Management Safety (WAMS) projects, sometimes as an integral part of existing Mine Action programmes, in a number of countries, including Guinea-Bissau, Libya, South Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, Somalia, Republic of the Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In Darfur, UNMAS is represented by UNAMID Ordnance Disposal Office (ODO) and are recognized subject matter experts and as such are actively supporting the Government of Sudan (GoS) Police, in support of the UNAMID Police mandate, and UNAMID Military and Police in the implementation of International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG) and International Small Arms Control Standards (ISACS). UNAMID senior management has agreed to support the implementation of the international standards within the mission.
The following activities form the basis of ODO support and assistance activities:
- Rehabilitation of GoS Police weapon and ammunition storage facilities, including training of key support staff.
- Recommend improvements, where necessary, to UNAMID Military and Police weapon and ammunition storage facilities, including training of key support staff.
- Prepare Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Weapon and Ammunition Management for GoS and UNAMID.
- Licensing of ammunition storage facilities and continuous monitoring of standards.
To date WAMS projects have been completed in Zalingei, Central Darfur, with the Nigerian FPU and Rwandan Battalion. The photographs below show the weapon ammunition storage facilities after refurbishment. The refurbishment was conducted by the Nigerian and Rwandan personnel with the assistance of UNAMID ODO.
Since 2006, the UNAMID Ordnance Disposal Office (ODO) strives to reduce the risk of injury from explosive remnants of war (ERW) among the local population in Darfur by raising awareness and knowledge of ERW and promoting behavior-change through community liaison activities, education and training and public information campaigns.
With its outreach and its varied activities, the Risk Education programme constitutes an important pillar of the mine action programme in Darfur and as such, it contributes to the recreation of an environment where social, economic and health development can occur free from the constraints imposed by unexploded ordnance contamination.
UNAMID ODO provides Risk Education in cooperation with UNICEF, the National Mine Action Centre, local ministries and together with the Risk Education teams of two local Sudanese NGOs: Friends of Peace and Development (FPDO) and JASMAR Human Security Organization.
Risk Education activities in Darfur specifically target schools and communities using different methods, mainly through:
- Direct community liaison with community leaders
- Targeted Risk Education sessions using materials such as UXO recognition posters, warning signs and story cards
- Drama, puppetry and songs
- Training of teachers and community volunteers
- Radio messages and public campaign days
Data-collection and needs assessments
By collecting data on accidents, victims and dangerous areas, the Risk Education Programme supports the clearance and victim assistance activities.
Currently, a Knowledge, Attitude, Practice and Beliefs (KAPB) survey is conducted in whole Darfur in order to provide better understanding of key socio-cultural and socio-economic issues which influence risk behavior, knowledge transfer and practices in Darfur. The results will be used to adapt the methodology and implementation of the activities to the local context and needs.