Darfur, a region of Western Sudan, has been mired in conflict since 2003, when two Darfur-based armed rebel movements, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) took up arms against the Sudanese government. Up to 300,000 people are thought to have died and at least 2.6 million displaced from their homes in Darfur since the fighting broke out. The ongoing armed conflict has left a legacy of Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and other explosive hazards.
UNMAS began its operations in Darfur in 2005, initially under the name of Western Regional Mine Action Office. On 1 January 2008, UNMAS became an integral component of the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) called Ordnance Disposal Office (ODO). ODO has its main office in El Fasher and five sector offices: Darfur Sector North, South, and West, Zallingei and El Daein.
Explosive ordinance continue to pose a serious threat to civilians, UNAMID Peacekeepers, and the delivery of humanitarian aid. ERW encountered in Darfur include air delivered bombs, rockets, artillery and rifle projectiles, mortars, and grenades. Since 2005, over 211 ERW incidents resulted in death or severe injury of 437 civilians; children have been particularly affected. ODO interventions to date have been focusing at supporting the Mission protection of civilians’ mandate, by locating and destroying unexploded ordnance or providing ERW mine risk education to local and nomadic population and internally displaced.
In line with Security Council Resolution 1769 (2007) with further amendamnets, ODO is mandated to support Mission tasks such as: protection of civilians, facilitation of the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the safety and security of UNAMID and humanitarian personnel. This support is provided through four broad activities:
In its effort to develop the capacity of the national elements, ODO works with the National Mine Action Center, the Darfur Security Arrangement and Implementation Commission (DSAIC) and the Sudan DDR Commission to strengthen national capacity in all aspects of planning, coordination of operations and data management.
Operations are hampered by restricted access to task sites, particularly in government-controlled areas. ODO mitigates access challenges through continuous coordination with the National Mine Action Center and its Darfur offices as well as through redeployment of clearance and risk education teams to accessible sites. Ongoing fighting in Darfur increases ERW contamination and leads to the recontamination of some areas that had previously been cleared.
ODO activities are fully funded from the UNAMID Assessed Budget. However, additional funding in 2017/18 financial year would be required for ODO to support victim assistance initiatives and expand its interventions aimed at achieving a Darfur free of ERW.
Updated: January 2017