Since 2005, ODO has conducted explosive hazard assessments and ordnance disposal tasks in 5,095 villages across Darfur. The tasks resulted in the closing of 1,646 reported dangerous areas, safe disposal of 69,430 explosive remnants of war (ERW) and the destruction of 3,430,113 small arms ammunition.
ODO provided risk education to 1,460,697 beneficiaries (including 296,071 men, 305,492 women, 450,286 boys and 377,178 girls), who are now able to adapt behaviour in at-risk environments. In addition, a total of 19,042 UNAMID personnel have received ERW safety awareness training (including police personnel, military observers and civilians).
In 2003, armed conflict broke out between the Sudan Armed Forces and two armed rebel movements namely Justice and Equality movement and Sudan Liberation Movement. The conflict resulted in death of up to 300,000 people and the displacement of over 2.6 million people, majority of whom are still in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. UNMAS began operations in Darfur in 2005. In 2008, the programme became an integral component of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) designated as the Ordnance Disposal Office (ODO). In line with Security Council resolution 1769 (2007) and further amendments, ODO is mandated to support Mission tasks including: protection of civilians, facilitation of humanitarian assistance and the safety and security of UNAMID and humanitarian personnel.
Over the years, the political and conflict dynamics have evolved. Anti-government protests which began in December 2018 lead the military to depose President Omar Al-Bashir on 11 April 2019. In August 2019, the military and the protesters signed a historic power sharing deal establishing a transitional government headed by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. The sovereign council will oversee the day to day running of the country for a period of 39 months, thus paving the way for a transition to civilian rule.
In October 2020, Sudan’s transitional government signed a peace agreement with the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition of rebel groups from regions of Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile state. The peace deal further raises hopes for an end to years of conflict across the country. SLA/AW is yet to join in the peace process. With improved security situation in Darfur, the Security Council adopted resolution 2525 (2020) mandating UNAMID to focus its activities in Jebel Mara. Outside Jebel Marra UNAMID and the UN country team should work on priority areas deemed critical to avoid a relapse into conflict, with a view to facilitating transition of these portfolios to government, country team partners and the newly established follow-on Mission by 31 December 2020. The Security Council through resolution 2524 (2020) has established the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) as a follow-on mission to UNAMID.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD):
In response to the ERW contamination, ODO deploys rapid response and multi-task teams with a special focus towards the Jebel Mara location, areas where armed hostilities have occurred and communities hosting internally displaced persons.
ERW Risk Education:
Through risk education activities, communities are informed of the threat of ERW in their areas and how to stay safe. The ERW risk education aims at achieving behavioural change. As part of the transition, ODO transferred risk education activities to NMAC and UNMAS- Sudan Programme.
ODO provides technical support and capacity building to the National Mine Action Centre and to national implementing partners so as to enhance a sustainable national capacity.
Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM):
ODO supports weapon and ammunition management initiatives with national security actors to help reduce the potential theft of small arms and ammunition and mitigate the risk of unplanned explosions at storage facilities. ODO also provides technical advice to UNAMID Military and Formed Police Units to support compliance with International Ammunition Technical Guidelines (IATG). As the mission draws down, ODO weapons and ammunition management will focus more on the verification of UNAMID team sites identified for closure and the safe disposal of contingent-owned shelf-life expired ammunition, to ensure that the team sites are free of contamination before they are handed over to the Government of Sudan.
ODO has supported assistance to survivors of ERW accidents through income-generation activities, the construction of vocational centers and training in vocational skills such as carpentry, welding, sewing etc.
ODO activities are funded from the UNAMID budget. With the need for UNAMID to handover tasks to the United Nations Country Team, ODO in partnership with UNMAS Sudan programme are looking at mobilizing Voluntary Trust Fund contributions to fill in the gap created with the UNMAD drawdown from areas in Darfur.
(Data updated: October 2020)