Last Updated: 25 August 2014

Mine Action

Contamination and Impact

Overall Mine Action Performance: AVERAGE BUT IMPROVING[1]

Performance Indicator


Problem understood


Target date for completion of clearance


Targeted clearance


Efficient clearance


National funding of program


Timely clearance


Land release system


National mine action standards


Reporting on progress


Improving performance





The Republic of Mozambique is contaminated with mines, mostly antipersonnel, a legacy of nearly 30 years of conflict that ended in 1992. Mozambique has made considerable progress in clearing mined areas and was planning to complete all clearance by the end of 2014, consonant with its extended Article 5 deadline. As of May 2014, however, it appeared uncertain whether it would meet the deadline.

The 2006–07 Baseline Survey identified 541 suspect hazardous areas (SHAs) covering 12.2km2 in Gaza, Inhambane, Manica, Maputo, Sofala, and Tête provinces. Since 2007, surveys have identified a further 542 SHAs not captured in the Baseline Survey covering a total of 22.2km2. As of November 2013, a total of more than 6.1km2 remained across 19 districts.[2] This included, in particular, contamination in central Mozambique and in the 74km length of mined areas inside Mozambique and straddling the border with Zimbabwe, which were divided into 13 tasks covering almost 2.9km2.[3]

A joint survey led by National Institute for Demining in July to August 2013 with involvement of the Mozambican Border Authority and the four international demining NGO operators concluded that eight of the original 13 border minefields were in fact located inside Zimbabwe.[4] The joint survey team also determined that one additional border minefield extends into Mozambique (Kahira Luia in Cahora Bassa district). In July 2013, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) completed demining of the Messambuzi border minefield in Sussendenga, bringing the total number of border minefields remaining in Mozambican territory to five: Kahira Luia, Mucodo, Mudododo, Nhamacuarara, and N’Soluwamunthu.

As of 20 March 2014, Mozambique reported that 5.38km2 of contamination remained in four provinces: Inhambane, Manica, Sofala, and Tête.[5] By far the greatest contamination (3.4km2) was in Sofala province.[6]

Cluster munition remnants

In its initial Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 report, Mozambique indicated that the extent of areas contaminated by cluster munitions is not known, although Mozambique has reported that cluster munitions had been used in Mozambique on a “limited scale” that affected seven provinces: Zambezia, Tete, Sofala, Niassa, Manica, Gaza, and Maputo.[7] It reported that a small number of cluster munitions, including both RBK-250 containers and unexploded submunitions such as Rhodesian manufactured Alpha bomblets, were found from 2005–2012 in the Guro district in Manica province, in the Boane district in Maputo province, in the Mabalane district in Gaza province, and in the Changara and Chifunde districts in Tete province; all of these cluster munitions were destroyed.[8] In 2012, NPA and HALO Trust found 25 Alpha bomblets in Tete and Manica provinces.

While the complete scope of the cluster munition contamination remains unknown and more survey is required to identify the exact extent of the problem, the National Demining Institute (IND) believes cluster munition use in Mozambique was limited and that most of the contamination has already been cleared as part of existing demining efforts. Mozambique has flagged that further non-technical and technical survey will be required, but that once completed, it hopes to be able to ensure compliance with Article 5 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions “no later than 2016.”[9]

IND is reported to be revising its national mine action standards to include specific guidance on clearance of cluster munition remnants.[10]

Other explosive remnants of war

Explosive remnants of war (ERW) incidents occur in rural areas in the course of normal community activities, such as food and water collection, farming, herding, or household work.[11] IND believes addressing the ERW problem will present challenges for the government for many years after mine clearance is completed in 2014. As mine clearance is close to completion, IND is considering ways to inform the public on ERW and what to do when an unexploded ordinance (UXO) is found, including information on whom to notify.[12]

The mine action program in Mozambique has provided direct support to the poverty reduction program (Plano de Acção para Redução da Pobreza) in Mozambique, known as PARP. It has also provided development investment by clearing mined areas in support of mining and agriculture, and has contributed to infrastructure building including power lines, roads, dams, bridges, and railroads.[13]

Mine Action Program

The IND serves as the national mine action center in Mozambique. It reports to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Provincial demining commissions have been created to assist in planning mine action operations. Since 1999, UNDP has provided technical assistance; currently, support is provided under a three-year program due to expire in 2015.[14]

Mozambique has four international mine clearance operators: APOPO, HALO, Handicap International (HI), and NPA). HI works in Inhambane and Sofala provinces. HALO has been working in Manica, Maputo, and Tête provinces. Demining has also been conducted by the Mozambican Army and a number of commercial operators.

Land Release

Mozambique has not reported disaggregated results by operator or land release methodology for demining in 2013. In March 2014, it reported that a total of almost 9.33km2 from 592 hazard areas had been released during 2013.[15] It further noted that a total of 111 districts had been officially declared “Mine-Free” out of a total of 128 districts, including all districts in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Gaza, Nampula, Niassa, and Zambezia.[16] Mozambique released 8.6km2 in 2012 through a combination of survey and clearance on 255 tasks.

In 2013, NPA conducted non-technical survey (NTS) as part of integrated manual technical survey (TS)/clearance teams.[17] APOPO had 47 rats engaged in survey supported by an NTS survey team of four staff and reported cancelation of 1.4km2 and release by TS of 0.15km2.[18] APOPO had 125 deminers working on clearance in 2013, achieving clearance of 0.56km2.[19]

NPA reported clearance of 0.1km2, destroying in the process 789 antipersonnel mines and our antivehicle mines.[20] In addition to this clearance, NPA verified an area of 22,977m2 in Cahora Bassa that had been previously cleared, destroying in the process 113 antipersonnel mines. NPA believes that either the mines were washed out after the original clearance, which resulted in destruction of more than 12,000 mines, or that the mines had been too deep to be detected at the time but the top soil was washed away following heavy rains which revealed the mines.[21]

Sixty-six antipersonnel mines were destroyed by NPA in a spot task in Chiwijo minefield located on the border with Zimbabwe. In an attempt to cultivate the land, local people had removed the mines and piled them in four different spots. Demining operations in that minefield were suspended after joint survey led by IND concluded it was located within Zimbabwe.[22]

Article 5 Compliance

Mozambique’s second extended Article 5 deadline is due to expire on 1 January 2015. Its initial Article 5 deadline, which expired on 1 March 2009, has been extended twice, once until 31 March 2014, and, most recently, for an additional 10 months until the end of 2014.

On 5 December 2013, the Thirteenth Meeting of the States Parties granted Mozambique’s second extension request, but noted that, while completion was within sight, implementation of Mozambique’s plan by 31 December 2014 was contingent upon assumptions that might not hold. First, meeting the deadline was subject to the successful conclusion of a cooperation agreement with Zimbabwe.[23] Second, it would require demining to occur throughout 2014, which was not the case in 2013. Third, as “temporary insecurity” had impeded demining in the past, any additional incidents could delay impact completion of clearance.[24] The meeting noted that should Mozambique not complete implementation by 31 December 2014, it would find itself in a state of non-compliance with the convention.[25]

The meeting also requested that Mozambique report to States Parties by 1 March 2014 on:

·         Progress towards a reduction to 100 tasks totaling 4km2 by 1 March 2014;

·         Time-bound benchmarks for progress for the extension period;

·         Progress in concluding a cooperation agreement with Zimbabwe;

·         Whether demining had again been affected by instances of “temporary insecurity;”

·         The role of the Armed Forces for the Defence of Mozambique in supporting completion of Article 5 implementation; and

·         Resources obtained for mine action, including those provided by the government of Mozambique itself.[26]

Addressing States Parties in April 2014, Mozambique struck a confident note: “While the number of demining tasks and mined area remains above the target for 1 March 2014 that was included in Mozambique’s October 2014 [sic] extension request, the demining capacity currently deployed in the country is still capable of completing the clearance and release of all known mined areas by the end of the extension period on 31 December 2014.”[27] It appears, however, that Mozambique will need to request an additional extension period at the Third Review Conference to complete its Article 5 obligations.

Compliance with Article 4 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions

Under Article 4 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Mozambique is required to destroy all cluster munition remnants in areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 September 2021.

In its initial Article 7 report submitted in July 2012, Mozambique stated that it required technical assistance in determining the extent of any area contaminated by cluster munitions, including a request to former users to provide information on possible locations and type of cluster munition remnants. Mozambique initially stated it may need until 2021 to clear all cluster munition remnants as the full extent of the problem was unknown.[28] However, at the Fourth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Mozambique reported that it believed it could ensure compliance with its clearance obligations “no later than 2016” dependent upon survey work “required to identify the exact scope of the problem and confirm that the threat posed by cluster munitions has already been removed.”[29]

Support for Mine Action

In 2013, international contributions to mine action in Mozambique totaled US$15.7 million, an increase of 15% from 2012.[30]


·         Mozambique should ensure the national mine action database is accurate, up to date, and owned by national authorities.

·         Mozambique should request an additional extension period at the Third Review Conference if it believes it will not be able to complete clearance before the end of 2014.


[1] See “Mine Action Program Performance” for more information on performance indicators.

[2] Statement of Mozambique, Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 2 December 2013.

[4] Mucumbura, Chisosi Cacodzi, Chiwijo, Machipanda Chipo, Mugoriondo, Chazuca Pinalonga, Mpengo North, and Mpengo South.

[6] National Demining Institute (IND), “Remaining hazard areas as of 28 February 2014.”

[7] Statement of Mozambique, Fourth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Lusaka, Zambia, 12 September 2013.

[9] Statement of Mozambique, Fourth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Lusaka, Zambia, 12 September 2013.

[10] Ibid.

[11] IND, “International Workshop on Demining in Mozambique: Workshop Summary,” Maputo, 5–6 November 2012, p. 6.

[12] Ibid., pp. 6–7.

[13] IND, “National Demining Plans 2008–2012;” and IND, “Addressing the Landmine and ERW Situation After 2014,” presentation at International Workshop on Demining, Maputo, 5–6 November 2012.

[14] UNDP presentation, International Cooperation and Assistance panel, Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 3 December 2013.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Email from Mario Nuñes, Program Manager, NPA Mozambique, 24 February 2014.

[18] Email from Ashley Fitzpatrick, APOPO, 25 February 2014.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Email from Mario Nuñes, NPA, 24 February 2014.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid. The name of that part of the minefield in Zimbabwe is Border Streams while Chiwijo is the name of closest village on Mozambique side.

[23] Of the 74.1km length of mined areas straddling the border between Mozambique and Zimbabwe, only 19.1km can be easily accessed from Mozambique. The remaining 51km is more easily accessible from Zimbabwe with seven of the 13 border minefields only accessible from Zimbabwe. This necessitates close coordination with Zimbabwe’s authorities on cross-border movements to reach them.

[24] Heavy rainfalls in the first quarter of 2013 and floods that extended to the second quarter obstructed access to demining sites and slowed down demining operations. Another problem was insecurity in the central province of Sofala, particularly Chibabava district, which forced demining operators to halt operations and move out of the concerned areas.

[25] Decision on the Article 5 request submitted by Mozambique, Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 5 December 2013. See also presentation of Analysis of Mozambique’s Second Article 5 deadline Extension Request by the President of the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 2 December 2013, p. 1.

[26] Decision on the Article 5 request submitted by Mozambique, Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 5 December 2013.

[27] Statement of Mozambique, Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 11 April 2014.

[29] Statement of Mozambique, Fourth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Lusaka, Zambia, 12 September 2013.

[30] Email from Mary Ryan, Emergency and Recovery Section, Irish Aid, 15 April 2014; response to Monitor questionnaire by Simone van der Post, Policy Officer, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 9 April 2014; Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form J, 30 April 2014; email from Ingunn Vatne, Senior Advisor, Section for Humanitarian Affairs, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 28 April 2014; response to Monitor questionnaire by Claudia Moser, Programme Officer, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, 15 April 2014; email from Zack Rubens, Policy Analyst, Security and Justice Team, Conflict, Humanitarian and Security Department, Department for International Development, United Kingdom, 9 May 2014; email from Lisa D. Miller, Public engagement and partnerships, Office of Weapons and Removal and Abatement, United States Department of State, 9 April 2014; Australia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 11 April 2014; Belgium, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 30 April 2014; Germany, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, 5 May 2014; and Sweden, Convention on Cluster Munitions Article 7 Report, Form I, Table 1, 25 April 2014.