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Namibia

Last Updated: 13 July 2011

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact

Mines

The extent of any mine problem in the Republic of Namibia remains unclear. According to its most recent Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report covering 2009, Namibia has no known or suspected mined areas containing antipersonnel mines.[1] It further reports that it completed demining operations in 2001,[2] although, as noted below, mines have been cleared subsequently. At the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty in December 2009, Namibia claimed that it was in full compliance with Article 5 of the treaty.[3]

Despite this declaration, there are indications that Namibia still has a mine problem. In late 2009, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism is reported to have claimed it “will need between N$3 million [US$369,420] and N$5 million [$615,700] for a landmine clearance operation along the border between Bwabwata National Park in Caprivi region and Angola that emerged from a brutal conflict several years ago.”[4] At the Third Continental Conference of African Experts on Landmines in Pretoria in 2009, Namibia reported that a mine incident had occurred that year.[5] The location of the incident was not reported. Furthermore, Namibia received training in humanitarian demining from the United States (US) Department of Defense between October 2009 and September 2010.[6]

Other governments have warned of a possible mine threat in Namibia. In April 2011, Australia repeated its warning that: “In the Kavango and Caprivi regions of north-eastern Namibia, particularly in areas bordering Angola, you should stay on well-travelled routes. Unexploded landmines and munitions remain in these regions.”[7] The same month, Canada warned travelers to be aware of the presence of mines in the border area from Katwitwi (a village on the Okavango River in western Kavango region) to Kongola town (Caprivi region).[8]

Cluster munition remnants and other explosive remnants of war

Namibia has a problem with explosive remnants of war (ERW), particularly unexploded ordnance (UXO). Indeed, in its 2009 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 report, Namibia acknowledged that “isolated cases of UXOs do occur.”[9] UXO has been found around former shooting ranges and consisted of grenades either from the South African Defence Forces or from three South African ammunition storage areas in the north that exploded in the 1990s.[10] From January 2006 to June 2007, Namibian police reported finding more than 11,000 items of UXO while finding 17 mines during the same period.[11] There is no evidence of any cluster munition remnants in Namibia.

Mine Action Program

There is no national mine action authority or mine action center in Namibia. The Namibian Defence Force has a mine focal point who reports to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence. The Namibian Defence Force is nominally responsible for mine clearance, and the Police Explosives Unit is responsible for clearing ERW (although it also reports on mine clearance).[12]

Land Release

There were no reports of demining or clearance of ERW in 2009 or 2010.

Compliance with Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty, Namibia was required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 March 2009. Namibia did not apply for an extension of its Article 5 deadline. At the Second Review Conference of the Mine Ban Treaty in December 2009, Namibia said it had completed the full destruction of antipersonnel mines in all mined areas and was in full compliance with Article 5.[13]

Other Risk Reduction Measures

In 2008, UNICEF said it did not conduct mine/ERW risk education (RE) in Namibia because mines were not a major problem.[14]The Police Explosives Unit requested assistance for RE but has not received support since 2004.[15]

 



[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 30 April 2009.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Statement of Namibia, Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 4 December 2009.

[4] Chrispin Inambao, “Thousands of villagers swamp game reserve,” Shona Adventures Blog, 9 November 2009, shonaadventures.blogspot.com. Average exchange rate for 2009: N$1=US$0.12314. Oanda, www.oanda.com.

[5] International Security Studies, “Third Continental Conference of African Experts on Landmines adopts new African common position,” Pretoria, 15 September 2009, reliefweb.int.

[6] US Department of Defense, “Fiscal Year 2010 Report on Humanitarian Mine Action,” US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Washington, DC, February 2011, www.dsca.mil.

[7] Government of Australia, “Travel Advice,” www.smartraveller.gov.au.

[8] Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, “Travel Report: Namibia,” www.voyage.gc.ca.

[9] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form C, 30 April 2009.

[10] Interview with Chief Inspector John N. Alweendo, Explosives Unit, Namibian Police Force, Windhoek, 17 March 2008.

[11] Fax from Maj.-Gen. M’Lukeni and Chief Inspector John N. Alweendo, Namibian Police Force, 18 June 2007.

[12] Ministry of Defence, “Preparing for the First Review Conference, Communicating Elements of Plans to Implement Article 5,” undated but 2004, pp. 2–3.

[13] Statement of Namibia, Second Review Conference, Cartagena, 4 December 2009.

[14] Telephone interview with Judy Matjila, Communications Specialist, UNICEF, 19 March 2008.

[15] Interview with Chief Inspector John N. Alweendo, Namibian Police Force, Windhoek, 17 March 2008.