Mozambique was officially declared “mine-free” on 17 September 2015, after more than twenty years of demining operations carried out with support from Handicap International. However, there are still mines and explosive remnants of war in some residential areas.
In response to the present danger, Handicap International has been implementing training courses on basic demining techniques for the last year. The sessions last three weeks and aim to include at least one police officer from each district in all of the country’s provinces. Nearly 100 officers have now been trained.
These training courses enable police officers to know why, where and how mines have been used, and to familiarize them with the different types of explosives that may be found in certain areas. These sessions are then followed by training in safety and first aid to be administered in the event of an accident. Trainees also learn the procedures to follow and practical action to take to destroy explosives once they have mastered the use of the equipment (detectors, protective equipment, and disposal equipment). The newly trained officers then go on to destroy ordnance previously stocked in the police stations where the training takes place.
The training sessions take place in real-life conditions. Once they have completed the course, each police officer should be able to organize the destruction of newly detected ordnance in their districts.
This is an essential training program, and some officers would like to see it delivered more widely throughout the police force.