Nine years after an international NGO identified 249 communities in Chad living near landmines – putting at risk one in 10 people nationwide – the government is preparing to create the country’s first landmine map, including the never-before-surveyed north-west Tibesti region.
The international demining NGO, Mines Advisory Group, is bringing equipment and project managers to launch the study in July. “We have never been able to get into Tibesti due to security concerns,” the government’s demining coordinator, Saleh Hissein Hassan, told IRIN.
In April, rebel fronts demanding more government investment in the sparsely populated, heavily mined north signed a peace deal that ended sporadic uprisings. The state recently pledged nearly $6 million to demine the region, whose capital, Bardaï, is only accessible by airplane.
Residents are forced to bypass a 35km mined path by doing a 400km detour, said former rebel and government focal point for the region, Barkai Saleh Choua Moussa.
The survey will determine how long the government will need to destroy all anti-personnel mines as required by the anti-personnel mine ban convention, ratified by Chad in 1999. The original deadline for mine destruction was November 2009.