The Republic of the Sudan was engaged in two civil wars covering a 50-year period, with the first civil war taking place from 1955-1972. The agreement that ended the first civil war did not resolve all tensions between the North and the South, thus resulting in the second civil war which began in 1983 and ended in 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). During the period of the second civil war, more than 1.9 million people were killed and another 4 million were displaced. Throughout the conflicts, all parties used significant quantities of mines to defend their positions and to disrupt the movement and operations of their enemies. As such, it is estimated that 19 of the country’s 25 states were contaminated with landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), with contamination found in all 10 states of southern Sudan. On 9 July 2011, The Republic of South Sudan became the world’s newest nation. After two years of independence conflict broke out in December 2013 and expanded primarily to the Greater Upper Nile Region.
This renewed conflict has created additional contamination, with Unity, Upper Nile, and Jonglei being the most impacted. While the ARCSS was signed in August 2015, active conflict has continued and it is likely that the number of hazardous aress could increase despite on-going survey and clearance operations.
The current threat environment represents a significant threat to more than 1.6 million internally displaced persons, local communities, peacekeepers and humanitarian aid workers. Each year, dozens of people are maimed and killed in accidents, communities are prevented from receiving humanitarian aid, and development is stalled because of the threat of mines and ERW. The socio-economic cost in terms of inhibition of agricultural production, food security, economic activities and freedom of movement is incalculable.
Prior to the outbreak of violence in December 2013, UNMAS had cleared 8,164 hazardous areas, released 1,124,406,403 m² of land, opened 22,896 km of roads and coordinated and supported mine risk education (MRE) to 2,130,019 beneficiaries.
Since December 2013, in response to the new threats caused by the crisis as well as the previous residual contamination from the Sudan Civil Wars:
- UNMAS has cleared ERW from all UNMISS Protection of Civilians (PoC) areas and responded to every incident of explosive weapons strikes in and around UN bases. UNMAS has also begun clearance in areas critical for the safe return of civilians to their homes and is assessing major roads to ensure safe access for civilians, peacekeepers and humanitarian aid actors.
- UNMAS cleared 4,073 hazardous areas, releasing more than 44.6 million square metres of land back to communities that is free from the threat of mines and ERW. The land facilitates development and infrastructure projects, livelihood activities, as well as access for humanitarian partners.
- Through route assessment and verification, UNMAS opened a total of 4,030 kilometres of roads, which now allows the free and safe movement of humanitarian actors, peacekeeping personnel, and development actors.
- UNMAS has coordinated and supported implementation of Mine Risk Education activities for 784,867 women, men, boys and girls; especially targeting vulnerable groups.
For further information and data please see our Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) reports here.