The United States has handed over $126 000 worth of equipment and training aids to Namibia to assist in the clearance of explosive remnants of war (ERW).
The equipment was handed over by US Ambassador Thomas Daughton last week. He said that the United States first began working with the Namibian Defence Force on landmine clearance in 1995. “Specialists from our two countries have worked together to combat the problem in the years since. Our collaborative efforts over 20 years resulted in the location and removal of almost all landmines from Namibian territory – more than 5,000 in total.
“As we succeeded together in finding and removing landmines, our programme focus evolved from de-mining to explosive ordnance disposal, or EOD, which has been our primary target in recent years.”
Daughton said that as people are still killed by ERW, still more effort is required. “To contribute to that effort, the United States is donating this training equipment. We intend as well to continue to provide technical assistance to the NDF as it stands up its own training program on EOD techniques and procedures. Our ultimate goal is for the NDF to have the full and sustained capacity to respond to the lingering threat of the explosive remnants of war wherever they may be in Namibia.
“I would like to recognize the Ministry of Defence and the Namibian Defence Force for outstanding leadership in confronting the issue of landmines and unexploded ordnance in Namibia. It is our honor to contribute to your efforts to eliminate a deadly threat to the people of Namibia.
“I am confident that by continuing to work together, we will achieve our common goal of a Namibia whose citizens can live peacefully and prosper — free from the threat of landmines and other explosive remnants of Namibia’s liberation struggle.”
In 2011, The US Department of Defence under the US African Command started training the Namibian Army members of the Engineer Corps and members of the Namibian Police Explosive Unit under the programme ‘Humanitarian Assistance Mine Action Training,’ notes Namibia’s Economist.