A-deminer-works-to-clear-an-area-in-Senegal
Senegal

Humanity & Inclusion relaunches mine clearance operations with U.S. support

Many explosive remnants of war still endanger the lives of people living in Casamance–in the south of Senegal–and prevent internally displaced people from returning home.   

Thanks to new funding from the American people, Humanity & Inclusion relaunched its mine clearance activities in Casamance. Between October 2018 and July 2019, our mine action teams plan to demine nearly 754,000 sq. ft. of land (the equivalent of 13 football fields) in the towns of Djibanar and Niagha, where some 22,500 people live; adding to the 4.3 million sq. ft. of land already cleared in the region since 2008.

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Restoring land to communities

Twenty years after the ratification of the Ottawa Treaty by Senegal, more than 295 acres of land are still contaminated by anti-personnel mines and other explosive remnants of war in Casamance. This contamination dates back to the 1980s-1990s, when violent clashes occurred between the Senegalese army and Casamance independence fighters.

Contamination affects main roads, country lanes and, most importantly, a lot of farmland–a vital source of income for the region's inhabitants. Through its mine clearance activities, Humanity & Inclusion works to restore this land to the families who own it, allowing them to return in safety, to travel freely, and to farm without fear.

In the long term, these mine clearance activities aim to have a direct positive impact on the economic development of these districts and, indirectly, on the whole region. These positive changes should also encourage the return of some of the thousands of internally displaced people who fled Casamance, and who have been afraid to return home. 

A historical presence

Humanity & Inclusion has been present in Senegal since 1996. We started working in Casamance in 1999 in order to provide mine casualties with physical and psychological rehabilitation care and to inform local communities on the risks associated with explosive remnants of war.

In the following years, our teams implemented a large-scale survey to determine and define with people living in 82 municipalities in Casamance the areas presenting a particular risk, and those to be cleared as a priority.

In 2008, based on the results of these surveys, Humanity & Inclusion launched its first weapons clearance activities in Casamance. To date, we are the only humanitarian organization engaged in mine clearance operations in Senegal. Learn more about our work in Senegal.