Mine Action

Last updated: 23 November 2015

Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline: 1 January 2018
(Not on track to meet the deadline)

Signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions


  • Angola should continue efforts to improve the national mine action database so as to be able to plan effectively and to report accurately on land release.
  • Angola should allocate and fund national demining assets to clear confirmed mined areas to implement its Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 clearance obligations.
  • Angola should clarify and empower the management structure of the national mine action program.
  • Angola should update its national resource mobilization strategy to compensate for decreased international funding and ensure timely clearance.
  • Angola should conduct a cluster munition remnants survey as soon as possible to confirm whether or not it is affected by cluster munitions remnants and take appropriate action based on the results.



The Republic of Angola has almost 129km2 of confirmed hazardous areas (CHAs) containing mines and a further 356km2 of suspected hazardous area (SHA) (see table below). It also has a significant problem with unexploded ordnance (UXO).

Angola’s contamination is the result of more than 40 years of internal armed conflict that ended in 2002, during which a range of national and foreign armed movements and groups laid mines, often in a sporadic manner. Historically, the most affected provinces have been those with the fiercest and most prolonged fighting, such as Bié, Kuando Kubango, and Moxico.

All 18 provinces still contain confirmed or suspected mined areas (as set out in the table below). The precise extent of contamination is, though, still not well understood in most cases. Based on the initial results of a nationwide non-technical survey, on which Angola reported in June 2014, nearly half of all remaining contamination is located in the provinces of Moxico (120km2 across 447 areas) and Kunene (113km2 across 168 areas). In the provinces of Bié, Benguela, Huambo, and Kuando Kubango, all SHAs were transformed into CHAs as a result of survey by HALO Trust. [1] In Bié and Kuando Kubango, much suspected contamination was cancelled by non-technical survey or by eliminating discrepancies in the national mine action database. [2]

Mine contamination by province as of end 2014 [3]



Area (km2 )


Area (km2 )































Kuando Kubango










Kwanza Norte





Kwanza Sul










Luanda Norte





Luanda Sul



































Note: * = 500m2

Despite significant investment of time and resources over two decades, the precise extent of contamination in Angola remains unclear. A Landmine Impact Survey (LIS) was conducted in 2005 with the Survey Action Center and intended to serve as a national baseline of the extent of contamination. The LIS delivered an inadequate picture of contamination due to its inherent weaknesses, but also because a number of areas were not accessible and also because ongoing demining work and SHAs cancelled by operators were not fully reflected in the National Intersectoral Commission for Demining and Humanitarian Assistance (Comissão Nacional Intersectorial de Desminagem e Assistência Humanitária, CNIDAH) database. A follow-up to the LIS, the “Survey and update of data concerning suspected hazardous areas” (commonly referred to as LIS II), started in 2011, which was due to be completed before the end of 2014. [4] As of July 2015, survey work was still ongoing. [5]

As described in Angola’s 2012 Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline extension request, a national non-technical survey and a mapping project designed to identify contamination and map ongoing clearance are intended to clarify the extent of contamination nationwide by 2016. Both projects have, though, been the subject of persistent delays.

Cluster munition remnants

The extent to which Angola is affected by cluster munition remnants remains unclear. There is no confirmed contamination, but a small residual threat from either abandoned cluster munitions or unexploded submunitions may exist. As of July 2015, appropriate survey had yet to be conducted in order to establish whether Angola is still affected by cluster munition remnants. Contamination by cluster munition remnants is a result of more than four decades of armed conflict that ended in 2002, although it is unclear when, or by whom, cluster munitions were used in Angola.

As of July 2015, clearance operators had not found cluster munition remnants in more than seven years, [6] apart from HALO Trust, which reported finding and destroying 12 unexploded submunitions in 2012. [7] In 2011, HALO and the National Institute for Demining (Instituto Nacional de Desminagem, INAD) affirmed that unexploded submunitions remained in Kuando Kubango. [8] In June 2015, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) reported finding no cluster munition remnants during its operations in northern Angola, with the exception of a small number of submunitions found in 2008. [9] In August 2015, DanChurchAid (DCA) also confirmed that it had never found any cluster munition remnants during its operations in Moxico. [10]

Indeed, since 1994, very few cluster bomb strikes have been identified by HALO, which has concluded that the impact of submunitions is minimal.

Since 1994, only a very few cluster bomb strikes have been identified by HALO, which has therefore concluded that the impact of submunitions is minimal in Angola. Clearing submunitions has been mainly explosive ordnance disposal call-out/spot tasks.

More typical is the destruction of old or unserviceable cluster munitions identified by HALO’s Weapons and Ammunition Disposal (WAD) teams in military storage areas, some of which have already been earmarked for subsequent disposal by the FAA. Since 2005, HALO WAD teams have destroyed a total of 7,284 submunitions, including 12 in 2012. [11]

Explosive remnants of war

There is also a significant problem with explosive remnants of war (ERW), especially UXO.

Program Management

Angola’s national mine action program is managed by two mine action structures. CNIDAH serves as the national mine action center. It reports to the Council of Ministers or in effect to the President of Angola. Since 2002, CNIDAH has been responsible for coordinating mine action in the country. It also accredits NGOs and commercial demining companies. Under the vice-governor of each province, CNIDAH’s 18 provincial operations offices determine annual objectives based on priority tasks identified by the LIS, provincial plans, and requests from traditional leaders and other NGOs. The annual operating budget for CNIDAH in 2014 was more than US$18 million. [12]

The other mine action body, the Executive Commission for Demining (Comissão Executiva de Desminagem, CED), was established in 2005 to manage Angola’s national development plan and is chaired by the Minister of Social Assistance and Reintegration (MINARS). It supports mine clearance in areas where development projects are a priority. Its demining budget in 2014 was about $101 million, more than five-times that of CNIDAH’s.

There is ongoing tension between the two national authorities over who has the power to represent national demining efforts. [13] All operators under CED remain reluctant to report to CNIDAH according to the agreed Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) format. [14] Part of the problem is that CNIDAH is still only a temporary governmental body. Transforming it into an agency would strengthen CNIDAH’s position, but this has been consistently delayed by lack of presidential approval. [15]

Lack of cooperation between the two national entities is visible in poor coordination between developmental and humanitarian demining across Angola. Most developmental clearance targets roads, bridges, airports, electric towers, hydroelectric power plants, and land for major state agriculture projects and new industry investments (such as cement factories), as well as for the construction of new housing. In many cases, this demining is not undertaken on the basis of any known or suspected risk. Most demining by NGOs, supported—albeit at an ever-decreasing level—by international donors, is determined by the results of the LIS and provincial priorities.

In 2002, in order to separate coordination and operational responsibilities, Angola established the National Demining Institute (Instituto Nacional de Desminagem, INAD), which is responsible for demining and training operations under the auspices of MINARS. In 2014, 23 technical experts from INAD, working in 14 provinces, participated in a one-month training in quality management of demining. [16]

From April 2002 until the end of 2011, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) supported capacity development of CNIDAH and later of INAD, including through a Rapid Response Fund, to manage and coordinate mine action. UNDP has admitted that its support to CNIDAH was not very successful, especially in database management. [17] No formal, independent evaluation of the whole program has ever been conducted.

Strategic planning

Following a request by the Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Angola elaborated a workplan for 2014–2017 based on the preliminary results of its national non-technical survey. As of June 2014, 70% of the survey had been completed, with four provinces still to be addressed (Cabinda, Kunene, Luanda, and Namibe) and one other where survey operations were ongoing (Moxico). [18] In March 2015, a CNIDAH official reported to the media that the survey had reached its “final stage.” [19]

Angola’s workplan for 2014–2017 projects clearance of 327 CHAs covering about 35.5km2 by 2017, proposing the following breakdown of tasks by operators:

  • APACOMINAS would clear 59 areas covering 5.2km2 in Huambo, Kwanza Sul, and Malanje.
  • DanChurchAid (DCA) would clear 12 areas covering 1.9km2 in Moxico.
  • HALO Trust would clear 155 areas covering 12.4km2 in Benguela, Bié, Huambo, and Kuando Kubango.
  • Mines Advisory Group (MAG) would clear 29 areas covering 7.1km2 in Moxico.
  • Menschen gegen Minen (MgM) would clear 20 areas covering 2.3km2 in Kuando Kubango.
  • Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) would clear 52 areas covering 6.8km2 in Kwanza Norte, Malanje, Uige, and Zaire.

Angola’s workplan foresees expenditure of approximately US$75 million to conduct clearance operations until 2017. [20]

Information management

Angola has had persistent difficulties in gathering and managing accurate mine action data, making it difficult to have a comprehensive and accurate understanding of contamination. As a consequence, in 2007 to June 2014, Angola has provided widely different reports on the extent of its mine problem (see table below).

Contaminated area as reported by CNIDAH in 2007–2014



Area (km2 )


Landmine Impact Survey


2010 (Dec.)

CNIDAH demining project to complete Article 5 obligations


2011 (Dec.)

Article 5 deadline Extension Request


2013 (Dec.)

Presentation at Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties


2014 (April)

Presentation at workshop in Luanda


2014 (June)

Workplan 2014–2017 presented at the Third Review Conference


There are two sides to Angola’s lack of a reliable mine action database: on one side CNIDAH’s database does not match NGOs’ own records, while on the other, CED operators fail to report to CNIDAH in the IMSMA format. [21]

Efforts to improve data quality and reconcile data between operators and CNIDAH have been undertaken at various times. For instance, in 2013, HALO and NPA verified all their entries in the CNIDAH database to eliminate errors and ensure future entries are accurate. [22] Nevertheless, in June 2014, Angola reported that discrepancies between international operators’ records and CNIDAH’s database still existed, with the level of difference estimated at 10%. [23]

An international assessor financed by UNDP and CNIDAH spent two months strengthening the skills of database staff with the result that 300 discrepancies between NGO data and the CNIDAH database were eliminated. Other common problems were: new areas not in the CNIDAH database; completion reports not processed; reports missing; overlapping mined area reports; and treatment of a completion report of a road task as if it were a mined area. [24] Unfortunately, CNIDAH staff did not continue the work started by the assessor after the end of his consultancy. [25]

While some considerable progress has been made in reducing database discrepancies with NGO operators, Angola still needs to address database and reporting issues with CED operators.


Mine clearance in Angola began in 1994 during the UN Angola Verification Mission. International NGOs were the predominant demining operators until 2007, when INAD greatly expanded its operational capacities, and national commercial companies were formed with a view to benefiting from significant government funding for mine action through its reconstruction projects.

In 2014, humanitarian demining operators in Angola included one local NGO (APACOMINAS), and five international NGOs, namely DCA (in Moxico), HALO Trust (in Benguela, Bié, Huambo, Kuando Kubango, and Kwanza Sul), MAG (in Moxico), MgM (in Kuando Kubango and Malanje), and NPA (in Malanje and Zaire). In 2014, APOPO received operational permission to undertake clearance using mine detection rats in Angola. It has since been supporting NPA’s clearance activities in Malanje province. [26]

The four CED Operators—the Angolan Armed Forces, the Military Office of the President, INAD, and the Police Border Guard of Angola—work collectively in all 18 provinces. They are tasked by the government to clear or verify areas prioritized by national development plans. [27]

A number of commercial companies [28] operate in Angola and are accredited by and report to CNIDAH, but are mostly employed by state or private companies to verify areas to be used for investment, whether or not they are known to contain SHAs. [29]

Land Release

Although Angola reduces the level of contamination each year, the various problems with the national database, including the different reporting formats between CNIDAH and CED, make it difficult to describe in detail and with any degree of accuracy the extent of land released in Angola. Furthermore, clearance data for 2014 from the CED and commercial companies was not yet available as of July 2015.

Survey in 2014

Between 2012 and April 2014, 192km2 was either cancelled by non-technical survey or released by technical survey or removed from the national database by eliminating data discrepancies between CNIDAH and other operators. [30]

Through non-technical survey activities conducted in Moxico in 2014, MAG cancelled six SHAs totaling 2.1km2 and identified 10 CHAs covering 0.6km2 . [31]

HALO Trust cancelled 13 areas covering 4.7km2 and by technical survey reduced a further 0.37km2 . In Huambo province, HALO also introduced its Mine Free District Methodology whereby in all 11 municipalities representatives from 1,541 communities signed survey forms agreeing that no further mined areas exist other than the 42 already identified and recorded in the national database. [32]

Clearance in 2014

International NGOs

In 2014, four international NGOs cleared a total of 2.60km2 , destroying 2,712 antipersonnel mines and 463 antivehicle mines (see table below).

Mine clearance in 2014 [33]


Areas released

Area cleared (m²)

Antipersonnel mines destroyed

Antivehicle mines destroyed































Note: N/R = Not reported

In addition, during its 173 explosive ordnance disposal operations in 2014, HALO Trust destroyed 36 antipersonnel mines and 15 antivehicle mines along with 831 items of UXO and 529 items of abandoned explosive ordnance. [34]

In 2014, three international operators increased demining capacity. MAG reported an increase in its clearance, non-technical survey, and community-liaison teams. NPA employed 36 new personnel (including 26 deminers) for its operations in Zaire. HALO’s total capacity went from 300 to 450 employees in the last quarter of 2014. [35]

Despite this improvement (mainly due to allocation of long-awaited European Union (EU) contracts), international funding remains a challenge to demining in Angola. Indeed, before being able to hire new staff and as a result of the lack of timely funding and an eight-month gap in announcing EU tender results, HALO was forced to reduce its staff capacity (from 650 to 300 employees), losing experienced demining staff. [36] Moreover, a lack of available funding for 2015 and disengagement of traditional donors foreshadow renewed reductions in demining capacity. MAG anticipated no major changes prior to October 2015 when its operations staff might be reduced by 10%. NPA reported that due to reduced funding it would have about 20 fewer deminers in Malanje in 2015.

Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 Compliance

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty (and in accordance with the five-year extension granted by States Parties in 2012), Angola is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 January 2018. Angola is not on track to meet its deadline.

Angola’s latest extension request, submitted in March 2012, was presented as an “interim period” during which efforts would be undertaken to better estimate the extent of the contamination and sort out database issues through a national survey and a mapping project to geographically represent the extent of contamination. Based on results of surveys and clearance, Angola plans to submit another extension request but has already predicted needing more than 10 years beyond 2018. [37]

The request indicated the size of the country, the different mine-laying techniques used, the fact that the locations and number of mines were not recorded, and lack of resources as the main reasons for Angola’s inability to comply with its initial deadline. The Analysis Group also noted Angola’s information management problems as a significant impeding factor. [38]

In granting the request, the Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties requested that Angola provide, to the Third Review Conference, details of its latest data on the size and location of all confirmed and suspected mined areas identified during its non-technical survey project, and that it submit a revised land release plan for the rest of its extension period. [39] As requested, in June 2014 Angola submitted its workplan for 2014–2017, which provided an update on progress regarding its national non-technical survey and database clean-up, and set annual clearance targets. [40]

Angola is considerably behind schedule in completing the tasks planned for its first extension period. The non-technical survey was due to be completed by 2013, and as of March 2015, activities were still in their “final stage.” [41] The mapping project was supposed to start in 2013, and although preparations have been undertaken (such as acquisition of equipment and technical training), the project has been delayed due to lack of funding, and as of July 2015, it was unclear whether it had finally started. Given considerable delays in completing both projects, Angola still does not have a clear understanding of its contamination, which impacts its capacity to identify its needs, set priorities, and effectively schedule operations, as well as distribute resources in the most efficient way.

Angola has traditionally been one of the largest recipients of international mine action funding. Nevertheless, demining operators and officials have noted a decrease in financial support, and most worrying a disengagement of traditional donors, with the exception of the United States and Japan. [42]

For more details, see the Support for Mine Action country profile.

[1] Email from Gerhard Zank, Programme Manager, HALO Trust, 5 May 2014.

[2] Presentation “Plano Cartagena v. Art. 5,”document presented during national workshop organised by the Government of Angola, CNIDAH, the European Union, and the Implementation Support Unit in support of Cartagena Action Plan in April 2014, provided by email from Joaquim Merca, Assessor of the President, CNIDAH, 6 May 2014.

[3] Data presented by Angola at the Mine Ban Treaty Third Review Conference, Maputo, 24 June 2014.

[4] Email from Joaquim Merca, CNIDAH, 12 May 2014.

[5]Angola aprofunda estudo sobre problematica das minas no pais” (“Angola deepens study on its landmine problem”), ANGOP, 30 July 2015.

[6] According to reports from NGO operators in the national database at CNIDAH, as of February 2008, NPA reported clearing 13 submunitions in Kwanza Sul province; Mines Advisory Group (MAG) reported clearing 140 submunitions in Moxico province; and HALO Trust reported clearing 230 submunitions in Bié province. Email from Mohammad Qasim, UNDP/CNIDAH, 22 February 2008.

[7] Response to questionnaire by Gerhard Zank, Programme Manager, HALO Trust, 19 March 2013.

[8] Interviews with Jose Antonio, Site Manager, Kuando Kubango, HALO Trust; and with Coxe Sucama, Director, INAD, in Menongue, 24 June 2011.

[9] Email from Fredrik Holmegaar, Country Director, Humanitarian Disarmament–Angola, NPA, 26 June 2015.

[10] Email from Richard MacCormac, Head of Mine Action, DCA, 5 August 2015.

[11] Response to questionnaire by Gerhard Zank, HALO Trust, 19 March 2013.

[12] Angola National Budget 2014. Angola average exchange rate for 2014: AOA1=US$0.0102. Historical Exchange Rates, .

[13] Interviews with Pedro Toco, UNDP Database Assistant to CNIDAH, Luanda, 20 April 2010; with Eng. Leornado Seferino Sapalo, Head, INAD, and CED Member, Luanda, 17 June 2011; with Susete Fereira, UNDP, Luanda, 14 June 2011; with Joaquim Merca, CNIDAH, in Geneva, 10 April 2014; and with Narciso Paulo S. Tiacafe, Operations Officer, CNIDAH, Luanda, 16 April 2010; and CNIDAH, “Plano Estrategico de Sector de Accao contra Minas 2013-2017,” Luanda, undated, p. 30.

[14] Interviews with Eng. Leonardo Seferino Sapalo, INAD, and CED Member, Luanda, 17 June 2011; Susete Fereira, UNDP, Luanda, 14 June 2011; and Joaquim Merca, CNIDAH, in Geneva, 10 April 2014.

[15] Interview with Joaquim Merca, CNIDAH, in Geneva, 10 April 2014.

[17] Interview with Susete Fereira, UNDP, in Luanda, 14 June 2011.

[18] CNIDAH, “Angola: plano de trabalho para cumprimento do pedido de extensão do art. 5 da Convenção de Ottawa 2014–2017” (“Angola: workplan 2014–2017 for the Ottawa Convention Article 5 extension period”), June 2014, p. 9.

[19]Angola: Eliminação completa das minas e remanescentes da guerra ainda é longo – diz CNIDAH” (“Angola: Complete elimination of mines and remnants of war will take a long time – says CNIDAH”), ANGOP, 13 March 2015.

[20] CNIDAH, “Angola: workplan 2014–2017 for the Ottawa Convention Article 5 extension period,” June 2014, p. 14.

[21] Interview with Joaquim Merca, CNIDAH, in Geneva, 10 April 2014.

[22] Charles Downs, “CNIDAH Mission Report,” Survey Action Center, May 2013.

[23] CNIDAH, “Angola: plan 2014–2017 for the Ottawa Convention Article 5 extension period”, June 2014, p. 5.

[24] Charles Downs, “CNIDAH Mission Report,” Survey Action Center, May 2013.

[25] Email from Anthony Connell, Programme Manager, DCA Angola, 24 April 2014.

[26] APOPO, “Joint APOPO-NPA Project ,” undated.

[27] CNIDAH, “Angola: workplan 2014–2017 for the Ottawa Convention Article 5 extension period,” June 2014, p. 6.

[28] Including: Yola Comercial, Fragilpe, Kubuila, Prodminas, Mavaarum, OJK, VDS, PAFRA, Anglowest, Sedita, Teleservice, and Grupo Everest. CNIDAH, “Angola: workplan 2014–2017 for the Ottawa Convention Article 5 extension period,” June 2014.

[29] Email from Joaquim Merca, CNIDAH, 12 May 2014.

[30] Presentation “Plano Cartagena v. Art. 5.”

[31] Email from Jessica Riordan, Country Director, MAG, 17 June 2015.

[32] Email from Gerhard Zank, HALO Trust, 5 May 2015.

[33] Emails from Jessica Riordan, MAG, 17 June 2015; from Gerhard Zank, HALO Trust, 7 July 2015; from Calvin Ruysen, HALO Trust, 26 October 2015; from Fredrik Holmegaard, Country Director, NPA, 26 June 2015; from Kenneth O’Connell, Technical Director, MgM, 14 July 2015; and from Annette Lüdeking, Programme Coordinator, DCA, 9 November 2015. DCA also cleared 338 ERW during these two tasks.

[34] Email from Calvin Ruysen, HALO Trust, 26 October 2015.

[35] Emails from Jessica Riordan, MAG, 17 June 2015; from Gerhard Zank, HALO Trust, 7 July 2015; and from Fredrik Holmegaard, NPA, 26 June 2015.

[36] Email from Gerhard Zank, HALO Trust, 7 July 2015.

[37] Statement of Angola, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 23 May 2012.

[38] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request Analysis, 30 October 2012.

[39] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request Decision, December 2012.

[40] CNIDAH, “Angola: workplan 2014–2017 for the Ottawa Convention Article 5 extension period,” June 2014.

[41]Angola: Eliminação completa das minas e remanescentes da guerra ainda é longo – diz CNIDAH” (“Angola: Complete elimination of mines and remnants of war will take a long time – says CNIDAH”), ANGOP, 13 March 2015.

[42] Email from Gerhard Zank, HALO, 7 July 2015; and CNIDAH, “Angola: workplan 2014–2017 for the Ottawa Convention Article 5 extension period,” June 2014, p. 8.