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Country Reports
TANZANIA, Landmine Monitor Report 2001
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Key developments since May 2000: Tanzania ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 13 November 2000. The treaty came into force for Tanzania on 1 May 2001. Tanzania is the only State Party that has not revealed whether or not it currently maintains a stockpile of antipersonnel mines. Field visits by Landmine Monitor to the border area between Tanzania and Burundi showed that there continue to be landmine victims arriving from Burundi in northwest refugee camps.

Mine Ban Policy

Tanzania signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 13 November 2000. The treaty came into force for Tanzania on 1 May 2001. Tanzania’s first Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 transparency report is due by 28 October 2001. It is unknown what steps have been taken to comply with the Mine Ban Treaty Article 9 requirement for national implementation measures.

Tanzania did not participate at the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in September 2000, nor has it attended any meetings of the intersessional Standing Committees. The government did not send representatives to the Horn of Africa/Gulf of Aden States Conference on Landmines from 16 -18 November 2000 in Djibouti. However, Tanzania did attend the Bamako Seminar on Universalization and Implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty in Africa, held in Mali in February 2001.

Tanzania voted in favor of the November 2000 UN General Assembly resolution supporting the Mine Ban Treaty. Tanzania is not a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling, Use

Tanzania is not believed to have produced or exported antipersonnel mines. Tanzania is the only State Party that has not revealed whether or not it currently maintains a stockpile of antipersonnel mines. Landmine Monitor has repeatedly asked for this information. Tanzanian Armed Forces reportedly used landmines in Uganda in 1979 and in Mozambique in 1986-1988.[1]

Landmine Problem

The Tanzania border with Burundi remains an active refugee transit zone for people from Burundi fleeing the eight-year civil war. There have been allegations of use of antipersonnel mines by both the Burundi army and rebels along the border between the two countries, especially in the Burundi region of Makamba. According to the US State Department human rights report on Burundi for 2000, “There were reports that the [Burundi] security forces mined the border with Tanzania in order to prevent rebels from crossing the border.”[2] Tanzania has been accused of hosting Burundi rebels.[3] (See Burundi country report for details on continued allegations of use in Burundi).

Although there is no evidence that the Tanzanian side of the border is mined, mine victims from Burundi are found in Tanzania. Survivors and victims of the turmoil have taken refuge in several camps inside northwest Tanzania. The presence of antipersonnel mines in this sector has impacted negatively on the development of the area, and has resulted in isolated cases of mine incidents.

While the number of refugees entering Tanzania has remained high and steady, the number coming into Kigoma has remained relatively low. Relief agencies attribute this to the presence of landmines at the border points to Kigoma.[4]

On 21 September 2000, Tanzanian authorities deployed bomb experts to refugee camps in western and northwestern regions of the country following a threat from a previously unknown group called the Anti-Hutu Revolution Burundi Group to bomb refugee camps in Tanzania. Landmine specialists were also sent to comb the areas "said to have thousands of landmines," according to the Kigoma regional police commissioner. "However, the task is not a two-day or one week exercise. It will take time to come out with the findings because the area they are combing is vast and covered with heavy forest,” the Tanzanian police officer added.[5]

Landmine Casualties

Tanzania’s main link to the landmine problem is the refugee population entering from neighboring countries to the west. All of the landmine survivors in Tanzania suffered their injuries outside of the country. A relief worker told Landmine Monitor that in the Manyovu area between September 1998 and August 1999, when there was a very large influx of refugees coming into Tanzania, many people died in mine explosions and many others were injured. Survivors told of over 20 of their colleagues who had died following landmine explosions. The relief worker also said that one day, of the 34 injured refugees they received, 16 were the result of landmine accidents.[6]

A field survey by Landmine Monitor shows that intensification of the war in Burundi has led to more landmine survivors in Tanzania.[7] From June 1999 to September 2000, the UNHCR recorded the following mine casualties: one killed in 1999, and one killed and 11 injured in 2000, including an 11-year-old child.[8] From May 1999 to July 2000, the International Rescue Committee recorded ten mine casualties coming through the Kibirizi reception center.[9] From April 2000 to January 2001, eight landmine casualties were treated at the Baptist Mission Hospital.[10] Relief agencies assume that there are high numbers of unreported fatal mine incidents, as often there is no one to report such incidents to.[11]

In May 2000 relief workers reported witnessing a mine blow up an 11-year-old child near the Manyovu way station. The boy, who was badly wounded, was brought to the Tanzanian side of the border and taken to Heri Mission Hospital where he died three months later. He suffered from multiple perforations according to the information given to the aid worker who followed up his case with the doctors.[12]

Landmine explosions traumatize refugees who have fled into Tanzania from Makamba Commune in Burundi. Evidence deduced from trauma healing exercises produced details and images of mines that are linked together by wires. The children are highly traumatized by loud bangs, which indicates that explosions either from mines or shelling are happening. A boy reported losing nine relatives including both his parents. From his description, the relief workers deduced that the accidents were caused by mine explosions.[13]

The problem at the border is not only confined to the refugees. A relief worker in Kasulu reported that in 1999, a Tanzanian local leader who carried out cross-border trade along Manyovu was injured by a mine during one of his trips. He is now an amputee.[14] In Kigoma, another relief worker reported that two Tanzanians were killed in mid-1999 as they cultivated land at the border.[15]

Survivor Assistance

There are no specific programs for mine survivors. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) assists in the evacuation of landmine survivors from the border region to safety inside Tanzania. The seriously injured landmine victims in Kasulu are taken directly to Heri Mission Hospital. If mine incidents occur in Kigoma, victims are taken to the Baptist Mission Hospital. Some of the injured arrive with septic wounds due to distances, as it normally takes two or more weeks for the injured to get to the hospital.[16]

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) implements a medical assistance program for refugees, including mine victims. UNHCR through its implementing partner, ICRC, covers the cost of treatment and medical supplies for those admitted to the hospitals. A UNICEF official told Landmine Monitor that they offer counseling for traumatized children and follow-up the progress of specific cases. This assistance is generalized and there is no specific assistance for landmine survivors.[17]

The ICRC has carried out an assessment on ways to improve the medical assistance preparedness at the border entry points. In March 2001, the ICRC provided first aid training for Red Cross volunteers, rural health workers, local leaders and other medical teams in Kigoma.[18] The training will enable refugees to receive first aid when they arrive at the way stations and reception centers at the border.

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[1] Human Rights Watch, Still Killing: Landmines in Southern Africa (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1997), pp. 71, 140.
[2] US Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Burundi, February 2001.
[3] “Everyone knows Burundi Rebels are based in Tanzania,” Interview with Burundi’s President Pierre Buyoya, EastAfrican, April 30-May 6, 2001.
[4] Interviews with relief workers in Tanzania, February 2001.
[5] IRIN bulletin of 21 September 2000, quoting The Guardian newspaper, Tanzania.
[6] Interview with a relief worker, Kigoma, 19 February 2001. Relief workers were cautious about being quoted since they were not officially sanctioned to give this information.
[7] The field survey was carried out in February 2001.
[8] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees collects information on injuries and delineates the different causes, including mines.
[9] Interviews with IRC attendants at the Kibirizi reception point, 17 February 2001. Those interviewed reported a larger number of landmine injuries in 1999. Records were not easily available then.
[10] Baptist Mission Hospital records. It was recorded in one patient’s records that his friend had died in the accident. Landmine Monitor researcher interviewed three patients at the hospital, 15 and 17 February 2001. One was from the DR Congo and another was on a visit to relatives in Burundi when the accident occurred.
[11] Interviews with relief workers in Tanzania, February 2001.
[12] Interview with UN field workers in Tanzania, February 2001.
[13] Interviews with UN field officers working with children, Kasulu, February 2001.
[14] Interview with the relief worker in Kasulu on 13 February 2001.
[15] Interview with the relief worker in Kigoma on the 19 February 2001. The relief worker was at the time stationed at the way station when he witnessed the blast.
[16] Interviews with a senior ICRC official on 15 February 2001 and with doctors at the Baptist Mission Hospital on the same day.
[17] Interview with UNICEF acting Head of Sub-office, Mrs. Hamida Ramadhani, 19 February 2001.
[18] Interview with a senior ICRC official on 15 February 2001; email from Landmine Monitor researcher 24 July 2001.