January 15, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) has announced Togan area in eastern Sudan landmine-free area affirming that Hamadaeet area and the road linking Gargar to Bertai areas would also be declared free of mines by the end of the current month.
SAF pointed, in a report issued by its spokesperson al-Sawarmi Khaled Saad, that victims of landmines in eastern Sudan states reached 545 people, adding that 2013 project for demining covered all minefields besides areas classified as dangerous or suspected to contain mines.
200 of those injured by landmines are targeted for rehabilitation and integration in society, the report said.
The project was prepared by the National Center for Combating Land Mines and its branches in the states, United Nations and the national campaign for combating mines.
The report said that eastern Sudan became a site of landmines and non-explosive remnants of wars due to conflicts since 1941 until 2007 and estimated landmines victims in Gedaref, Kassala, and Red Sea.
It stressed that proliferation of landmines and non-explosive remnants of wars is the main obstacle to comprehensive development, reconstruction, and voluntary return to affected areas, pointing to concerted efforts of the government and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) within an action plan that was approved after signing the 2005 peace accord between north and south Sudan.
The report also said initial survey revealed existence of 343 dangerous areas, pointing that strategic roads for conducting planning and survey processes in the 2014 plan were determined in collaboration with National Corporation for Roads and Bridges (NCRB).
The areas which are contaminated by landmines and non-explosive remnants of war include agricultural lands, pastures, public roads, firewood lands, and roads linking states.
Landmines pose serious threat because they aren’t directed towards certain targets and don’t differentiate between enemies and innocent civilians including children, women, elders, youths, and herders.
It also destroys livestock, wildlife, and development projects as well as polluting the environment.
Al-Sawarmi pointed that national units of demining have exerted significant efforts to remove mines in Kassala state, stressing SAF’s commitment to continue efforts for demining in the state.