Mozambique recently received a Mini MineWolf landmine clearance vehicle, which will be operated by the National Demining Institute to clear mines that remain from the country’s civil war.
The Instituto Nacional de Desminagem (IND) works with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in clearing mines and received the MineWolf through a Swedish government grant given to the UNDP.
MineWolf Systems reported that the Mini MineWolf MW240 was transported from Germany via ship to Mozambique’s port of Beira in June. After that, mine clearance specialists were scheduled to undergo training on the vehicle before beginning operations.
In addition to the MW240, MineWolf Systems is supplying a one year spare and wear parts package and a six week training course for the Mozambican operators and mechanics, the company said. The MineWolf staff will provide the training in the Cheringoma District to two operators from each of the four demining organisations that will deploy with the Mini MineWolf as well as operators from IND’s Quality Assurance team.
De-mining operations were to start in the Cheringoma District in Sofala Province, which is the most heavily mined province in Mozambique.
The Mini MineWolf is a light remotely operated mine clearance machine based on the larger, manned, MineWolf. Powered by a 240 hp DEUTZ diesel engine, it can clear an area of 2 000 square metres per hour. It uses flails and cutters to clear mines, including those buried in vegetated areas (down to a depth of 25 cm), and can withstand anti-personnel, anti-tank and fragmentation mines. The entire system, including workshop, fits into a 20 foot container.
Mozambique remains one of the most heavily mined countries in the world – in 1996, Mozambique’s Defence Minister estimated that there were still about 3 million landmines in Mozambique. According to Handicap International, an estimated 20 people step on landmines every month in Mozambique. Although significant progress has been made in clearing mines since Mozambique’s civil war ended in 1992, the country still has several mine-affected provinces.
Elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, Angola has also received the MineWolf, ordering six in November 2009 through RUAG. Deliveries began in January 2010. These are owned by the Angolan National Demining Authority (INAD). In addition, one Mini MineWolf is owned by Danish Church Aid and another Mini MineWolf was purchased by Norwegian People’s Aid for their demining operations in Angola.