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Country Reports
SWAZILAND, Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Key developments since March 1999: The Mine Ban Treaty entered into force for Swaziland on 1 June 1999. The United States trained forty demining instructors from August to October 1999.

Mine Ban Policy

The Kingdom of Swaziland signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 December 1997 and deposited its instrument of ratification on the 23 December 1998. Thus, the treaty entered into force for Swaziland on 1 June 1999. In its Article 7 transparency report, Swaziland reports that “[l]egislation is presently being drawn up.”[1] Swaziland submitted the Article 7 report, which was due by 27 November 1999, on 16 February 2000. It covers the period from 1 July 1999 to 30 January 2000. Swaziland voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 54/54B in support of the Mine Ban Treaty in December 1999, as it had on similar resolutions in 1996, 1997, and 1998. Swaziland attended the First Meeting of States Parties in Maputo in a delegation led by its High Commissioner to Mozambique. It also participated in the Standing Committee of Experts on the General Status and Operation of the Convention in January 2000.

A number of NGOs in Swaziland have been involved in the movement to ban landmines, including the Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross Society and the Swazi affiliate of the Southern African Churches in Ministry with Uprooted People.

Swaziland is not a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons, but officials told Landmine Monitor that Swaziland intends to join Amended Protocol II (Landmines).[2] It is not a member of the Conference on Disarmament.

Production, Stockpiling, Transfer, Use

Swaziland has not produced or exported antipersonnel mines. In the Article 7 report, Swaziland confirmed that it has never possessed antipersonnel landmines, including any retained for training.[3]

Landmine Problem

Swaziland has a limited landmine problem.[4] A small minefield exists just east of the Lomahasha Customs point near the town of Mananga on the border with Mozambique in the northeast of the country. The minefield is approximately 10 kilometers long and 50 to 100 meters wide. In a letter to the Landmine Monitor researcher dated 12 June 2000, Army Spokesman Lt. Khanya Dlamini indicated that Swaziland intends to “demine along the border between Swaziland and Mozambique from Lomahasha Border post to Great Usuthu River South-East of Swaziland.” While the number of landmines in this area is unknown, in 1997 it was estimated to contain ten uncleared mines.[5] In June 1999 an additional eight landmines were reported found.[6] Lt. Dlamini told Landmine Monitor that while the number of mines is unknown, it contains POMZ mines and unexploded ordnance/booby traps; he also stated that a Level One survey has been conducted.

The extent of spillover from Mozambique border minefields needs to be investigated. Retired Director of the Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross Society, Thandiwe Dlamini has been approached to examine whether there are more minefields along the common border with Mozambique and if there have been any recent casualties as a result of landmine incidents in that region.[10]

Mine Action Funding

On 1 June 1998, the U.S. government’s Humanitarian Demining Interagency Working Group approved Swaziland for humanitarian demining assistance. In late 1998, a pre-deployment site survey was conducted in Swaziland by a U.S. team. The program start-up phase was delayed due to the need to transfer funds to relieve the suffering in Central America caused by Hurricane Mitch. The program is valued at $1,710,000 of which $210,000 has been transferred to the trust fund at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). It is available to the government of Swaziland to support mine action undertaken by the Swaziland forces trained by the U.S. military personnel. As of March 2000, Swaziland had not submitted a request to use the funds.[11] U.S. Department of Defense funds ($828,000 in FY 1999 and $289,000 in FY 2000) cover the expenses of U.S. personnel deployed to conduct the training and are not used to acquire large items of equipment. Limited funds can be used to purchase small items of equipment (protective garments, visors, headgear) needed to conduct training.[12]

Mine Clearance and Awareness

In its Article 7 report, Swaziland reported that forty demining instructors of the Umbutfo Defence Force were trained by American soldiers from August to October 1999 and “[a]t the end of that course they went to a suspected mine area to mark it, warning members of the public about the danger zone.” [13] Two U.S. Department of Defense personnel trained the Swazi Army Engineers in “mine clearance, mine identification, communications, medical care and basic mine awareness educational programs.”[14] The team also provided training on minefield survey tools and techniques and combat lifesaver training. After a site visit to the area on the 6 April 2000, representatives of the Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross Society confirmed that the minefield is “properly guarded and with clear warning signs for the people living near the area. Members of the Umbutfo Defence Force stationed near the border keep the area clear of overgrowth and warn residents of the danger of the landmines by regular patrols.”[15]

The Article 7 report noted that a refresher course would start 1 February 2000 but this was delayed until May 2000 due to the devastating floods that struck Mozambique and northeast Swaziland in February and March 2000. Swaziland Sergeant Maphilisa Dlamini, stationed in Siteki, near the border with Mozambique indicated that the floods had moved some landmines and said that members of the military would verify the situation when they are deployed to the area in May 2000.[16]

The May demining training exercise was conducted by three U.S. soldiers. The Article 7 report indicated that another course would take place in which Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force instructors would train between 40 to 60 personnel. [17]

No demining has started yet.

Swaziland does not have a national Mine Action Center but the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force is responsible for mine action activities. The experience of clearing the minefield is aimed at enhancing Swaziland's capacity to contribute to future peacekeeping activity.[18]

The Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross provides information on the current mine clearance operation through its weekly radio programs which reach the communities near the minefield.

Landmine Victims

Interviews by Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross Society with inhabitants near the Mozambique border confirm that there have been no injuries or deaths due to landmines in the last ten years.[19] The death of a woman and injuries to several men prior to this period have been validated by authorities at the Good Shepherd Hospital.[20] The Swazi Government has not adopted national legislation for persons with disabilities.


[1] Swaziland Article 7 Report, Form A, submitted 16 February 2000.
[2] Telephone interview with Ismail Matse, Legal Advisor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 14 January 2000.
[3] Swaziland Article 7 Report, Forms B and G, 16 February 2000.
[4] Some sources have listed Swaziland as mine free. According to the UN Country Database, Swaziland is not mine-affected. In 1993, the U.S. Department of State stated that Swaziland “has no landmine problem” but in 1998, it revised this to “affected.” U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers, 1993, p. 159 and U.S. Department of State, Hidden Killers, 1998, p. A-2.
[5] Thandiwe Dlamini, “Statement to the OAU Conference on the Legacy of Anti-personnel Landmines,” 19 - 21 May 1997.
[6] “Danger: 8 More Landmines Found at Lomahasha,” The Swazi Observer (national newspaper), 8 June 1999.
[10] Telephone Interview with Thandiwe Dlamini, retired director of the Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross Society, 7 March 2000.
[11] Email from Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs, U.S. Department of State, 3 April 2000.
[12] Email from Colonel Tom Stott, Office of Humanitarian Assistance and Anti-Personnel Landmine Policy, via Helen Savva, Reference Specialist, Public Affairs Office, Information Resource Center, U.S. Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa, 16 March 2000. See also, Human Rights Watch, “Clinton’s Landmine Legacy,” A Human Rights Watch Short Report, Vol. 12, No. 3, July 2000, p. 38.
[13] Swaziland Article 7 Report, Form I, 16 February 2000.
[14] Email from Colonel Tom Stott, via U.S. Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa, 16 March 2000.
[15] Thandiwe S. Dlamini and July Ginindza, “Update on the Situation of Landmines in Swaziland,” Unpublished paper, Baphalali Swaziland Red Cross Society, 5 May 2000.
[16] Dlamini and Ginindza, “Update on the Situation of Landmines in Swaziland,” 5 May 2000.
[17] Article 7 Report, Form I, 16 February 2000.
[18] Maria Raphael, Senior Program Manager, U.S. Department of State, Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs, “Address to the Southern Africa Development Council,” Gaborone, Botswana, 15 April 1999.
[19] Dlamini and Ginindza, “Update on the Situation of Landmines in Swaziland,” 5 May 2000, p. 1.
[20] Ibid.