Briefing on the history of landmines in Sudan

In this page:

1. Sudan and landmines suffering

2. The civil war in Sudan and landmines challenge

3. Sudanese position in the Mine Ban Convention

4. Beginning of mine action program in the Sudan

5. Establishment of Sudan Campaign to Ban Landmines

Sudan is considered as the biggest African and Arab, country, area wise, with an estimated area of about one million square miles, with an area equivalent to almost the European Continent and more than a quarter of the area of the United States of American, and share borders with a number of nine countries, in addition to the Red Sea. The number of the population is 38 million people (2003 estimate).
Sudan Classified within the six more African countries affected by mines, the Sudan has known the mines since World War II in both eastern Sudan and North Western Sahara of Sudan. Sudan was affected by the mines as a result of disputes in the neighboring countries where mines extended to western Sudan (Darfur) in the 1970s during the twentieth century years of civil war in Chad, but it has announced the clearance of those sites from mines after the settlement of the dispute. Also the presence of mines was recorded in the Egyptian-Sudanese borders, as used to prevent the smuggling of camels from Sudan to Egypt. However, the civil war in southern Sudan remains the main cause for Sudan to be affected by mines, which broke out since the beginning of independence (1955) and stopped for a period of ten years (1972-1983), and exploded again in the year 1983 more vicious and widespread in southern Sudan, and spread to other parts like the Nuba Mountains in central western Sudan in the year 1985, the Ingassena Hills southeast Sudan, and eastern Sudan in Kassala and Red Sea States in the year 1996.
The civil war in Sudan killed about two million citizens and the displacement of more than four million others and resort about 350 thousand citizens to neighboring countries.
Estimated number of mine victims is around (70,000) citizen, 50% of whom lost their lives (92% of the affected civilians in eastern Sudan). Also around (3) millions of cattle killed by mines, and also mines prevent the rehabilitation of infrastructures and services in the villages rural areas, and obstruct the process of ambulance, evacuation and victims assistance in those areas, and prevent the exploitation of farmland, pasture and water sources due fear or to avoid danger.
Different estimates showed that the number of mines laid in Sudan between (500,000-2,000,000 mines) in the various conflict zones. The types of mines used up to about (46) produced in some (16) countries such as (Belgium, China, Egypt, Israel, Italy, United States, the Soviet Union, Iraq and Iran. These mines prevented the use of around (10) million hectares of land, and closed a number of roads and railways, which made the transport of humanitarian aid to the needy areas limited only to air transportation of highest cost (for every dollar of food about five dollars spent on the air transportation).

At the beginning of the year 2003, the armed conflict in Darfur augmented. Despite the presence of the historical backgrounds and causes of the conflict, but it can be said that so far the National Mine Action Center have registered only two cases of mine incidents.
In the Sudanese borders, there are active military operations on the Sudanese- Ugandan borders, where Ugandan Lord Resistance Army (LRA) is active in using mines. Also the use of mines on the Sudanese borders with Eritrea and Ethiopia was recorded.

Sudanese position in the Mine Ban Convention:
The Sudanese Government signed the Ottawa Convention for banning landmines since December 1997, and in August 2003 the Council of Ministers ratified the Convention. In October 2003 Sudan deposited its instrument of ratification of the Convention to the United Nations Secretariat, and in April 2004 the Convention entered into force.
The Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army, the major armed opposition faction in the previous period (before the signing of the Peace Agreement-January 2005) joined the list of Geneva Call to join Non-State Actors (NSAs) agreement to ban landmines in 2001 and ratified the commitment towards Geneva Call (DOC).

Beginning of mine action program in the Sudan:
• There are a number of actors working in the field of mine action in the Sudan for along period of time. the International Committee of the Red Cross, is one of the oldest players in this field as it worked on the organic and material rehabilitation. The Military Hospital is providing care and treatment for armed forces affected-persons. During previous years the   mine action was done only by the Military Corps for reasons of war. Now, some national NGOs are working in the field of humanitarian demining such as the Sudan Association for Combating landmines (JASMAR) which is actively working in the Nuba Mountains area. Also the Sudanese Red Crescent Society provided First Aid services and Mine Risk Education (MRE.
In July 1997 the Sudan Campaign to Ban Landmines was established. It is a network of voluntary organizations from around (48) national and international NGOs. Also it plays the coordination role for all organizations activities of mine action in the areas controlled by the government. Also mine programs are used as a tool for peace and confidence building through its relationship with the organizations on the other side of the Sudan (SPLM-controlled areas) such as Save the Innocent lives (OSIL).


where JASMAR work

Full treaties/conventions' texts

Mine Ban Treaty

Cluster Munitions Convention

Rights of PWDs

click for JASMAR activities on VA

Dr. Hussein Obeid,

JASMAR General Manager

stop landmines now, stop killing innocent civilians

Explosive Remnants of War = interrupted development


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