Mine Action

Last updated: 30 October 2013

Contamination and Impact


At the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties in November 2011, the Republic of Burundi declared it had completed clearance of all mines, fulfilling its Article 5 obligations, following the clearance of 11 mined areas by Mines Advisory Group (MAG). In December, however, the Minister of Energy and Mines requested assistance in surveying Suspected Hazardous Areas (SHAs) around electrical pylons; consequently, in May 2012, Burundi reported at the intersessional Standing Committee meetings that it still had suspected mined areas to release.[1] In 2013, Burundi repeated that it had located some SHAs near electrical pylons and in May requested assistance from the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) to complete non-technical surveys and clearance of antipersonnel mines.[2]

As an indicator of the assumed remaining contamination, FSD reported finding four antipersonnel mines per electrical pylon from 2005–2008; Direction de l'Action Humanitaire contre les Mines et Engins non explosés (DAHMI), the national mine action center, reported just 80 antipersonnel mines have been found from 2006–2013.[3]

Explosive remnants of war

The precise extent of contamination with explosive remnants of war (ERW) is unknown, although MAG regularly reported encountering ERW in its operations.[4] In October–November 2010, MAG trained four Civil Protection staff in demining to explosive ordnance disposal level 1 certification.[5] In 2006, an assessment by the United States (US) Department of State’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) identified poor ammunition storage and handling conditions in Burundi as serious risks.[6] MAG has worked with Burundi’s military and police to strengthen their Physical Security and Stockpile Management capacity since 2007.[7]

Mine Action Program

Key institutions and operators


Situation on 1 January 2013

National Mine Action Authority

General Directorate for Civil Protection

Mine action center


International demining operators


National demining operators

Armed forces; and Civil Protection demining team


Mine action in Burundi is under the authority of the General Directorate for Civil Protection located within the Ministry of Public Security. On 15 May 2009, DAHMI was officially established under the same ministry, marking the end of active UNDP support. DAHMI is responsible for the coordination of mine action activities.[8]

Land Release

According to DAHMI, no mine clearance was conducted in 2012.[9] As of May 2013, Burundi did not have any clearance capacity although MAG had trained a Civil Protection Demining team in 2008. Dan Church Aid (DCA) and FSD closed their mine clearance programs in 2008.[10]

Survey in 2011–2012

A survey of SHAs around electricity pylons in October 2012, conducted by DAHMI with technical oversight by MAG, identified an unspecified number of SHAs in Bururi, Bujumbura, and Bubanza provinces.[11]

Compliance with Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty, Burundi is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 April 2014.

It appears Burundi prematurely declared it had met its Article 5 obligations when it declared it was mine free in November 2011. Burundi reported in May 2012 that it needed further survey to confirm SHAs around a few electrical pylons, but it still planned to meet its 1 April 2014 deadline.[12] Survey conducted in the SHAs in October 2012 identified further mined areas, but the extent remains unclear. As of May 2013, Burundi was waiting for a response from FSD on assistance.

[1] Statement of Burundi, 11th Meeting of States Parties, Phnom Penh, 28 November 2011; MAG, “Why MAG is needed in Burundi,” April 2012; and statement of Burundi, intersessional Standing Committee Meeting on Mine Clearance, 23 May 2012.

[2] Statement of Burundi, intersessional Standing Committee Meeting on Mine Clearance, 27 May 2013.

[3] Ibid.; and FSD, “FSD de-mining programme in Burundi PART 1,” YouTube.com, 22 May 2008.

[4] Email from Julie Claveau, Programme Manager, MAG, 10 February 2010.

[6] Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD), “Mine Action and Armed Violence Reduction Burundi Case Study: MAG,” September 2012.

[7] MAG, “Why MAG is needed in Burundi,” April 2012.

[8] GICHD, “Burundi: Synthese d’informations de l’action contre les mines et les restes explosifs de guerre (dont sous-munitions)” (“Burundi: Overview of information on mine action and ERW - including submunitions”), Second Seminar of African Francophone Seminar on Mine and ERW Action, Dakar, Senegal, 2–4 November 2009.

[9] Statement of Burundi, intersessional Standing Committee Meeting on Mine Clearance, 27 May 2013.

[10] DCA, “No More Mine Action,” 26 September 2009; and email from Alex Griffiths, Director of Operations, FSD, 24 February 2009.

[11] Email from Nicole Ntagabo, Project Manager, MAG Burundi, 26 November 2012.

[12] Statement of Burundi, intersessional Standing Committee Meeting on Mine Clearance, 27 May 2013.