04 August 2008

On 24 July 2008, in Somalia, the Puntland Mine Action Centre (PMAC), with technical support from Mines Advisory Group (MAG), destroyed 48 stockpiled antipersonnel mines near Garowe.

This was the first officially recorded destruction of antipersonnel mine stocks in Puntland. The Puntland authorities are a signatory to the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment for Adherence to a Total Ban on Anti-Personnel Mines and for Cooperation in Mine Action, which pledges them to banning the use, production, acquisition and transfer of antipersonnel mines, to destroying their antipersonnel mine stocks, and to facilitating mine action activities.

Antipersonnel mines and other dangerous explosive items claim civilian casualties every year in the region - PMAC recorded 60 mine and explosive remnants of war casualties in Puntland in the first 6 months of 2007.

In a recent, dramatic event on 10 July 2008, three children were killed and six injured when a 106mm high explosive anti-tank projectile exploded as children were playing with it on a school football field. The 48 PMP-71 mines destroyed in Garowe were first disclosed to Geneva Call during a field mission in November 2004.

The volatile security situation in Somalia and difficulties in securing donor interest delayed their destruction. PMAC and MAG are in the process of training explosive ordnance disposal teams and completing an inventory of mines and other explosive ordnances in Puntland’s military camps requiring urgent and safe disposal.

Read more on the situation in Somalia in Landmine Monitor Report 2007.