Mine Action

Last updated: 16 November 2018


Treaty status

Mine Ban Treaty

State Party
Article 5 deadline: 1 March 2021
Not on track

Mine action management

National mine action management actors

Senegalese National Mine Action Center (Centre National d’Action Antimines, CNAMS)

Mine action strategic plan

Updated workplan submitted in 2017 to March 2021

Mine action standards

National standards last updated in 2013

Operators in 2017

Humanity and Inclusion (HI, formerly Handicap International)

Extent of contamination as of end 2017


0.28km2 CHA and 0.02km2 SHA

Cluster munition remnants


Other ERW contamination

Not reported

Land release in 2017


0.07km2 surveyed and subsequently cleared with the destruction of 2 antipersonnel mines and 1 antivehicle mine

Other ERW

1 item of UXO destroyed during mine clearance



There are inconsistencies in reported extent of remaining contamination and plans for land release
As of October 2017, operations were suspended due to a lack of funding, and as of October 2018 they had not resumed

Notes: CHA = confirmed hazardous area; SHA = suspected hazardous area; ERW = explosive remnants of war; UXO = unexploded ordinance.


The Republic of Senegal has still to establish an accurate assessment of the extent of its mine contamination. In 2017–2018, it continued to report inconsistent figures for the amount of confirmed and suspected contaminated areas remaining, as it has in previous years.

According to Senegal’s Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 transparency report for 2017, as of 31 December 2017, a total of 68 areas of antipersonnel mine contamination remained to be addressed with a total size of 282,945m2: 42 CHAs with a size of 262,025m2, six SHAs with a size of 20,920m2, and an additional 20 areas with an unknown size. As in previous years, Senegal continued to also report that a further 144 areas still remained to be surveyed, including 127 areas in Bignona department, four in Oussouye, and 13 in Ziguinchor.[1]

In June 2018, however, Senegal informed States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty that 1.2km2 of contamination remained to be addressed across 81 recorded areas: 30 in Bignona department, 25 in Goudomp department, nine in Ziguinchor department, and 17 in Oussouye department. This is in addition to the 144 unsurveyed areas in Bignona, Oussouye, and Ziguinchor departments. It claimed that as of June 2018, 1,932,717m2 had been demined, with the destruction of 443 mines, along with the survey of 490 “localities” and the release of 69.[2]

Previously, at the end of December 2016, CNAMS had reported that a total of 81 areas of antipersonnel mine contamination remained to be addressed (61 CHAs covering 305,486m2 and 20 SHAs of unknown size), along with the 144 unsurveyed areas.[3] In April 2017, however, CNAMS reported remaining contamination as comprising 52 CHAs (41 covering 529,027m2 and 11 of unknown size).[4]

Four departments (Bignona, Goudomp, Oussouye and Ziguinchor) of Senegal’s total of 45 still contain confirmed or suspected mined areas. The affected departments are located in the Casamance region of Senegal, between Gambia to the north and Guinea-Bissau to the south.

Antipersonnel mine contamination by province (at end 2017)[5]



Area (m2)


Area (m2)

Other SHAs of unknown size































N/R = not reported

The figures reported in the table above do not tally with the amount of remaining contamination CNAMS reported as of the end of 2016 or its claim that 18 areas covering a total of 106,658m2 were released in 2017.[6]

According to HI, given the historical evidence of frequent clashes and rebel bases in the area, the identification of SHAs in northwest Casamance suggests a high probability that other areas of contamination will be found as survey progresses further east, nearer to the northern border.[7] The extent of contamination is better known in the south of Casamance, where previous survey in the region has identified several SHAs, between the Guinea-Bissau border and the Casamance river to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.[8] In August 2018, HI reported that there were still unsurveyed areas such as north Sindian in Bignona department where significant contamination was suspected. However, for security reasons and a lack of resources, the area had not been addressed.[9] 

Mine contamination in Senegal is the result of more than 30 years of fighting between the armed forces and a non-state armed group, the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (Mouvement des Forces Démocratiques de Casamance, MFDC). Sporadic fighting with some factions of the MFDC has continued despite a ceasefire in place since 2004.

In 2017, mine and ERW contamination continued to pose a threat to local residents in the Casamance region, seriously hindered socio-economic development, prevented the return of displaced populations, and limited access to agricultural land and livelihood activities.[10]

In August 2018, HI reported that of the remaining contamination to be addressed, the most important areas were located in the north of Bignona department, along the Gambian border, as increasing numbers of displaced persons were returning to the area following regime change in Gambia and a lull in the conflict in the Casamance region in recent years. HI also said that the area had great economic potential, making clearance both a humanitarian and a developmental priority.[11] 

Program Management

The National Commission for the Implementation of the Ottawa Convention serves as the national mine action authority for Senegal. Demining operations in Casamance are coordinated by CNAMS. Regional mine action coordination committees have been established in Kolda, Sédhiou, and Ziguinchor departments. 

Strategic planning

Senegal submitted an updated workplan in accordance with its Article 5 deadline extension request in May 2017 for the remainder of its extension period, until 1 March 2021, and subsequently a revised version on 13 October 2017. The plan contains a list of all known or suspected contaminated areas and establishes annual targets for the amount of contamination to be addressed. However, there are inconsistencies and incompatibilities in its reporting on the total contamination remaining and the size of projected annual milestones for land release. Additionally, Senegal’s extension request is until March 2021, but the plan does not contain details of work to be carried out after 2018.

According to the revised workplan, Senegal would address 17 CHAs with a total size of approximately 169,771m2 in 2017, 24 CHAs with a size of 343,856m2, and 11 CHAs with an unknown size, along with non-technical survey of the remaining 144 areas, in 2018; and any areas confirmed as CHA by survey activities in 2019–2020.[12]

In its latest Article 7 report for 2017, however, Senegal reported it would carry out clearance of 14 CHAs totaling 139,174m2in September 2018–January 2019, though the calculation of the total surface area is incorrect and, based on the figures given in the table, the total to be cleared would be 150,795m2.[13] It further claims that a total of 23 CHAs with a size of 340,291m2 will be addressed in February–May 2019 in Bignona, Goudomp, and Ziguinchor departments, and 11 CHAs with an unknown size in Bignona and Goudomp departments in November–December 2019. The report also states that the 144 areas that remain to be surveyed will be addressed by non-technical survey in 2018–2019, and that any CHAs identified would then be cleared in 2020, depending on security conditions.[14]

From the above figures in its latest Article 7 report, it would appear to indicate that at least 479,465m2 of CHA will be addressed; although, according to figures in its revised workplan, 513,626m2 of CHA will be addressed; but according to Senegal’s most recent Article 7 transparency report, only about 262,000m2 of CHA remained as of the end of 2017. As noted above, however, at the Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings in June 2018, Senegal estimated remaining contaminated area to cover a total of 1.2km2.[15]

Legislation and standards

Senegal does not have national mine action legislation in place, based on available information. There were no significant developments regarding Senegal’s national mine action standards in 2017.[16] According to HI, the standards have not been updated since 2013.[17]


HI remained the only international mine action operator in Senegal in 2017 and as of October 2017, had suspended its demining operations in the country for lack of funding.[18] During the year it employed 26 operational staff, two national managerial staff, and an expatriate operations manager. It deployed a soil preparation and mechanical mine clearance machine, the Digger D-3.[19]

Land Release

The total mined area reported released by HI in Senegal in 2017 through technical survey and clearance was just under 65,400m2, with the destruction of two antipersonnel mines.[20] This is less than half the amount of land released by HI in 2016 (147,650m2), and a further decrease in output from 2015, when HI released 911,000m2 by survey, though no clearance occurred that year. CNAMS, however, reported that in 2017 a total of 18 mined areas were addressed with the release of 106,658m2 and the destruction of three antipersonnel mines.[21]

Survey in 2017

In 2017, HI reported confirming 16 mined areas with a combined size of 65,393m2: one area in Bignona department with a size of 1,000m2 and 15 areas in Goudomp department with a size of 64,393m2, all of which were subsequently released through technical survey and clearance.[22]

Clearance in 2017

In 2017, as stated above, HI reported releasing a total of 65,400m2 through technical survey and clearance (though it is unable to disaggregate between the two), including one area in Bignona department with a size of 1,000m2 and 15 areas in Goudomp department with a combined size of 64,393m2. These areas were released with the destruction of two antipersonnel mines, one antivehicle mine, and one item of UXO.[23]

However, CNAMS reported that 18 CHAs with a total size of 106,658m2 were cleared in Goudomp department, Ziguinchor region, with the destruction of three antipersonnel mines.[24] According to its updated workplan, Senegal had intended that 17 CHAs with a total size of approximately 169,771m2 would be addressed in 2017.[25] 

Deminer safety 

There were no accidents involving deminers reported in 2017. However, HI reported that its operations on the Bélaye-Ebinako road in Djiniaky district, Bignona department had to be suspended because of the incursion of armed groups, which claimed not to have been part of community meetings about the choice of the particular track of road where operations were to be carried out.[26] The last reported incident occurred in 2013, when a number of Mechem deminers working in the village of Kaïlou (Ziguinchor department) were kidnapped, some of whom were held for 90 days, although all were later safely released.[27]

HI has reported that its task orders from CNAMS took into account security conditions first, before focusing on community requests.[28]

Article 5 Compliance 

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty (and in accordance with the five-year extension granted by States Parties in 2015), Senegal is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 March 2021. It is unlikely to meet this deadline. 

In granting the second extension request in December 2015, States Parties noted that Senegal “did not have clear knowledge of the size and location of areas that will warrant mine clearance” as well as its commitment “to undertake technical survey activities and to develop a cancellation procedure which may result in implementation proceeding much faster and in a more cost-effective manner.”[29]

Senegal’s previous Article 5 clearance deadline expired on 1 March 2016 under its first extension request approved in 2008. Despite repeatedly asserting its intention, as late as June 2014, not to seek a second extension period and to complete clearance within this deadline, in June 2015 Senegal submitted a request to extend its Article 5 clearance deadline until March 2021.

Senegal has claimed that the circumstances impeding compliance with its international legal obligations include general insecurity; MFDC reticence to agree to demining operations; the eight-month suspension of operations in 2013; ongoing concerns over deminer safety; and a decrease in technical and financial resources in recent years.[30] Senegal has also stated that security conditions and lack of funding could affect its ability to complete clearance in a timely manner.[31]

In fact, since 2013, the lack of land release and concrete political will to address its mine problem, and as a consequence, the inadequate use of clearance capacities, have prevented Senegal from fulfilling its Article 5 obligations. This led to the withdrawal of some international operators and the loss of financial support from key donors, explaining in part the sharp reduction in its clearance capacities. Indeed, while Senegal recorded a significant increase in clearance productivity in 2012–2013, the way CNAMS has allocated tasks after the 2013 kidnapping has been criticized for directing resources and clearance assets to areas without credible risk of mine contamination, while requests from operators to conduct survey prior to deploying clearance assets were denied.[32]

In June 2018, CNAMS informed States Parties that it expected approximately €6,475,000, which is required to complete clearance of the remaining contaminated areas. It stated that Senegal contributes €460,000 annually for the operating costs of the CNAMS, and €308,000 for the conduct of mine action activities. It stated that with the current pace of performance it was unlikely to be able to meet its clearance objectives of the end of 2020.[33] Senegal’s revised October 2017 workplan notes that a resource mobilization plan should be included in the document but does not contain one.[34]

Senegal’s submission of an updated workplan in October 2017 for 2016–2021 in accordance with its Article 5 extension obligations is encouraging. However, serious questions remain about the likelihood of its implementation, which is highly dependent, among other things; on security conditions. Senegal has regularly indicated that all demining operations would be conducted within the framework of the ongoing peace talks and would first be approved by MFDC in meetings with Senegalese officials.[35] At the same time, CNAMS has stated that talks with the MFDC are made by authorities in Dakar exclusively, and not by the mine action center.[36] There is no explanation in the action plan presented in Senegal’s second extension request of how peace negotiations conducted in Dakar by the Reflection Group on Peace in Casamance (Groupe de Réflexion sur la Paix en Casamance, GRPC) will include the issue of mine clearance.

In 2017, CNMAS reiterated that the implementation of the revised workplan and the feasibility of the 2021 mine clearance deadline are based on the assumption that the GRPC obtains the MFDC’s agreement on the inclusion of demining activities in the peace process, in order to allow for the rapid deployment of demining teams.[37] In the workplan, CNMAS stated that it was unable to provide detailed updates on the development of the peace process as it is not a member of the GRPC negotiation group. However, it reported that events in Gambia had improved the security situation in the north of Casamance, particularly in the department of Bignona, allowing significant numbers of displaced persons to return. It expected that the continued evolution of the peace process would ensure better security conditions and improve access for mine clearance in planned locations.[38]

Previously, in 2015, NPA criticized CNAMS for obstructing dialogue between operators and the armed forces in particular, which could provide the specific locations of mined areas. Other stakeholders echoed that CNAMS was preventing dialogue between parties, including the spokesperson of the MFDC, who stated that there was a complete lack of communication with members of CNAMS.[39]

Despite the positive step of revising and submitting an updated workplan for its Article 5 extension period in October 2017, Senegal still lacks a comprehensive understanding of its mine problem and concerns have been raised about its apparent reluctance to deploy clearance assets in CHAs, and its continued failure to clear contaminated areas around existing military bases. According to Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), which was operational in Senegal between 2012 and 2014, there is overwhelming evidence that laying of landmines by rebel forces was sporadic, while the Senegalese armed forces placed hundreds, if not thousands, of mines around military outposts in Casamance before joining the Mine Ban Treaty.[40]

However, in August 2017, CNAMS claimed that it has already demined around all the military bases, with the help of the army where that was necessary.[41] HI has reported that its teams cleared 22,162m² in Boutoute-Djibanar in connection with a former army base between 24 April 2015 and 23 December 2016, destroying “around” 19 antipersonnel mines.[42] In the absence of more detailed reporting, is not certain that all other bases have been demined.

In August 2018, HI stated that the probability that Senegal would meet its Article 5 deadline of 1 March 2021 was “more than low” in view of the remaining situation of close to 1.2km2 of area reported to be contaminated and nearly 144 localities that had not been surveyed, and without the resources to do so. HI additionally cited that the CNAMS’ ability to mobilize resources has been very low in recent years.[43]

HI reported that there were no significant improvements to the national mine action program in 2017. It remained the only mine action operator in Casamance, but stated it was not involved or poorly consulted on decisions with regards to the national program.[44]


The Monitor acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review (, which has conducted the primary mine action research in 2018 and shared all its country-level landmine reports (from “Clearing the Mines 2018”) and country-level cluster munition reports (from “Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2018”) with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.

[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form D.

[2] Statement of Senegal, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 8 June 2018. It further reported that Bignona department had long been inaccessible due to conflict; however, with a lull in fighting in recent years, it had been possible to carry out non-technical surveys, which identified the suspicion of mine contamination around the districts of Sindian and Kataba I, with Oulampane, Kataba I, and Djignaki villages the most affected. The villages of Sindian, Djibidione, and Suelle remained inaccessible for mine action activities, though. In the department of Bignona, the large-scale return of populations to previously abandoned land would need to be preceded and accompanied by CNAMS, it said. In the department of Oussouye, the situation was normalizing, and it claimed that humanitarian mine clearance activities carried out by CNMAS had reduced mine contamination to only around the village of Santhiaba Manjack, Kabrousse district, while the district of Loudia Ouolof was not expected to be contaminated. In the Sédhiou region, it stated the most affected areas are located in the department of Goudomp, in the districts of Djibanar and Simbandi Brassou, from the National Road No. 6 (RN6) to the border with Guinea Bissau.

[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form D; CNAMS, “Updated Workplan for Senegal’s Article 5 Extension 2016–2021,” 13 October 2017; and email from Ibrahima Seck, Head of Operations and Information Management, CNAMS, 18 August 2017.

[4] CNAMS, “Updated Workplan for Senegal’s Article 5 Extension 2016–2021,” 13 October 2017, p. 10. The workplan states that the 41 CHAs have a size of “529,027.276m2.”

[5] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form D.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Email from Ibrahima Seck, CNAMS, 18 August 2017; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form D.

[8] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form D.

[9] Email from Faly Keita, Coordinator, Casamance Site, HI, 8 August 2018.

[10] Emails from Faly Keita, HI, 8 August 2018; from Ibrahima Seck, CNAMS, 18 August 2017; and from Julien Kempeneers, HI, 19 April 2017.

[11] Email from Faly Keita, HI, 8 August 2018.

[12] CNAMS, “Updated Workplan for Senegal’s Article 5 Extension 2016–2021,” 13 October 2017, pp. 13–14; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form D.

[13] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form D.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Statement of Senegal, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 8 June 2018.

[16] Email from Faly Keita, HI, 8 August 2018.

[17] Email from Julien Kempeneers, HI, 19 April 2017.

[18] Ibid., 26 September 2016.

[19] Email from Faly Keita, HI, 8 August 2018.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form D.

[22] Email from Faly Keita, HI, 8 August 2018.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form D.

[25] CNAMS, “Updated Workplan for Senegal’s Article 5 Extension 2016–2021,” 13 October 2017, p. 13.

[26] Email from Faly Keita, HI, 8 August 2018.

[27] In March 2013, clearance operations were progressing rapidly as a consequence of the new demining capacity brought by Mechem and NPA. As they approached MFDC-controlled areas, a faction of the rebel group called publicly for a halt to humanitarian demining on the ground that clearance teams had reached a “red line beyond which operators’ safety could not be guaranteed.” Joint Press Release from MFDC, CNAMS, Geneva Call, the Sao Domingos Prefect, and APRAN-SDP, 20 March 2013.

[28] Email from Faly Keita, HI, 8 August 2018.

[29] Analysis of Senegal’s request for a second Article 5 deadline extension submitted by the Committee on Article 5 Implementation, 17 November 2015, p. 1.

[30] Ibid., p. 22.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Kathryn Millett, “Clearance and Compliance in Casamance: is Senegal doing all it should?” Landmine and Cluster Munition blog, 7 April 2014.

[33] Statement of Senegal, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 8 June 2018.

[34] CNAMS, “Updated Workplan for Senegal’s Article 5 Extension 2016–2021,” 13 October 2017, p. 20.

[35] H. Sagna, “Humanitarian demining in Casamance: negotiations and operations still deadlocked,” Enquête+, 17 June 2015.

[36] Statement of ICBL, Mine Ban Treaty 14th Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 2 December 2015; and email from Ibrahima Seck, CNAMS, 22 August 2016.

[37] Email from Ibrahima Seck, CNAMS, 18 August 2017.

[38] CNAMS, “Updated Workplan for Senegal’s Article 5 Extension 2016–2021,” April 2017; and CNAMS, “Updated Workplan for Senegal’s Article 5 Extension 2016–2021,” 13 October 2017, p. 21.

[39] A. Grovestins and A. Oberstadt, “Why landmines keep on killing in Senegal,” IRIN, 3 August 2015.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Email from Ibrahima Seck, CNAMS, 18 August 2017.

[42] Email from Julien Kempeneers, HI, 19 April 2017.

[43] Email from Faly Keita, HI, 8 August 2018.

[44] Ibid., and 24 August 2018.