+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Table of Contents
Country Reports
TANZANIA, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Tanzania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Jakaya M. Kikwete, signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and stated, “It is the expectation of my delegation that at the end of this conference, we shall have come up with a credible plan of action. Firstly the quick ratification of the treaty by those of us signing today. Secondly, to have a concrete plan to clear the minefields and expeditiously assist the affected countries and persons. And, thirdly, to have a clear strategy which will ensure the actual elimination of production and use of landmines.”[1]

Tanzania has not yet ratified the ban treaty. When Foreign Minister Kikwete tabled his ministry’s budget for 1998/1999 in parliament, he told the National Assembly that a “Bill on the Abolition and Accumulation of Land Mines” (most likely the ratification legislation) would be tabled shortly.[2] Tanzanian non-governmental organizations working to ban landmines are actively lobbying for swift ratification of the ban treaty, in addition to mine awareness activities.[3]

In November 1996, Tanzania issued its first statement in support of a ban, which was later presented during the Fourth International NGO Conference on Landmines held in Maputo in February 1997.[4] Tanzania attended the 1997 Bonn, Brussels, and Oslo meetings of the Ottawa Process, endorsed the Brussels Declaration and supported key 1996, 1997, and 1998 UN General Assembly resolutions on landmines.

Tanzania does not manufacture landmines and is not believed to transfer them. It is not known whether Tanzania maintains a stockpile of antipersonnel mines. Tanzanian Armed Forces used landmines in Uganda in 1979 and in Mozambique in 1986-1988.[5] Tanzania experienced a limited number of landmine incidents on its soil in the 1960s. In April 1966, a woman and man in the village of Kilambo, about five miles from Mahuranga, stepped on a landmine, and security forces subsequently found and destroyed another mine. In November 1966, four Tanzanians died from mine explosions in the village of Mahuranga, about thirty miles from the post of Mtwara. Six mines had been laid according to the police.[6] The OAU Standing Committee on Defense condemned these landmine incidents and blamed the Portuguese.[7] A Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson in Lisbon denied that their forces were responsible, claiming in 1967, "It is not one of our methods to place mines on trails used by peaceful populations, and even less so in a foreign country. In Mozambique we are fighting foreign-backed rebels."[8]

According to Major-General John Walden of the Tanzanian army, there have been no other landmine incidents since the 1960s, although UXOs at former nationalist bases remained a problem.[9] There was, however, an incident in 1996 in which a child was killed by a mine in a forest near Ngara.[10] The mine was reported to have been dropped by refugees fleeing Rwanda.

Tanzania's main link to the landmines problem is the refugee population in the Kigoma area, in the western part of the country. The Kigoma area accommodates several refugee camps which host refugees from Rwanda and Burundi. Unconfirmed reports from Tanzania say that Burundi is reported to be planting landmines inside Tanzania along its borders to prevent Hutu rebels from crossing back into Burundi. (The Burundian government denies using AP mines— see Burundi country report). Tanzanian diplomats say that there have been a handful of cases in which booby traps or improvised devices have been used, but no antipersonnel landmines.[11]

Forty-five Burundian males aged between seventeen and thirty-nine were registered at Kibirizi Port in Kigoma as landmine casualties between 1 January and 31 December, 1998. They have been treated at Kigoma regional hospital.[12]


[1]Statement by the Honorable Jakaya M. Kikwete, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tanzania, at the Landmines Signing Conference, Ottawa, 3 December 1997.

[2]Hubert M. Lubyama, Christian Council of Tanzania, “Tanzania Country Report,” prepared for presentation at the Southern African Regional Landmines Campaign Meeting, Johannesburg, South Africa, 15-16 March 1999.

[3]Tanzanian NGOs campaigning to ban landmines include the Christian Council of Tanzania.

[4]Human Rights Watch, Still Killing: Landmines in Southern Africa (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1997) p.140.

[5]Human Rights Watch, Still Killing: Landmines in Southern Africa (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1997), pp.71, 140.

[6]East African Standard, (Dar-es-Salaam), 14 April, 1967.

[7]Radio Dar-es-Salaam, in English, 18 April 1967.

[8]East African Standard, (Dar-es-Salaam), 20 April 1967.

[9]Human Rights Watch interview with Major-General Walden, London, 6 January 1997.

[10]Reuters, 2 August 1996.

[11]Human Rights Watch interview with N Mdoe, Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kempton Park, South Africa, 20 May 1997.

[12]LM Researcher interview with Mathew M. Biggs, East African correspondent, Reuters, Nairobi 1999; LM Researcher email correspondence with Vincent Parker, liaison officer, external relations, UNHCR-Tanzania office, 5 February, 1999.