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Country Reports
MAURITANIA, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Mauritania signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997. Ratification is expected soon, as the country’s Senate has already approved the treaty. The process now merely awaits the signature of the country’s president.[1] Mauritania endorsed the pro-treaty Brussels Declaration in June 1997 and attended the Oslo negotiations as a full participant. It voted in favor of the pro-treaty UN General Assembly resolutions in 1997 and 1998. Mauritania has signed the 1980 Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), but it has not ratified the amended Protocol II on landmines (1996).

Mauritania has never produced or exported antipersonnel mines. But Mauritania has imported landmines from Italy, France, the former Yugoslavia, Great Britain, Argentina, Greece, Singapore and Egypt.[2] Mauritania still holds an unknown quantity of landmines in its stocks.

Mauritania has some landmines on its territory dating from World War II and from its war in Western Sahara. The US State Department has estimated there are 10,000 mines planted in Mauritania, of Spanish, French, Soviet and German origin.[3] The area around the military outpost of Bir Mogrein is mined, as is the region between the port city of Noudhinhou and Zouerate and between Zouerate and Bir Mogrein.[4]

The Mauritanian army has removed some landmines, though its efforts have only occurred in a haphazard fashion. The U.S. State Department indicates a total of 7,000 mines and 5,000 UXOs have been destroyed.[5] The country has never implemented a mine awareness program. No reliable assessment of the number of landmine casualties in Mauritania exists.[6] No medical programs geared toward landmine victims are available.


[1]Landmine Monitor interview with the Mauritanian Red Crescent.

[2]Osservatorio sul commercio delle arme report, Italy Toscane IRES.

[3]U.S. State Department, Hidden Killers, September 1998, p. A2; Hidden Killers, December 1994, p. 16.

[4]United Nations, Country Report: Mauritania, at http://www.un.org/Depts/Landmine/ country/ mauritan.htm.

[5]Hidden Killers, 1998, p. A4.

[6]U.S. State Department indicates just 19 mine casualties. Ibid.