+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Table of Contents
Country Reports
ZAMBIA, Landmine Monitor Report 2001
<Previous | Next>


Key developments since May 2000: Zambia ratified the Mine Ban Treaty on 23 February 2001; the treaty entered into force for Zambia on 1 August 2001. UNMAS carried out an assessment mission in May-June 2000, and the US State Department conducted an assessment mission in October 2000.

Mine Ban Policy

Zambia signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 12 December 1997 and deposited its instruments of ratification at the United Nations on 23 February 2001. The Mine Ban Treaty entered into force for Zambia on 1 August 2001. In his announcement of the ratification, Zambian Minister of Foreign Affairs Keli Walubita said that Zambia remained deeply concerned that antipersonnel mines continued to kill, maim and threaten the lives of countless innocent people, denying communities the ability to rebuild their lives long after the conflicts had ended. [1] He also called on the international community to provide technical assistance to enable Zambia meet the enormous challenges of mine action. Officials told Landmine Monitor that Mr. Walubita was particularly supportive of Zambia’s ratification because his parliamentary constituency is heavily infested with landmines.[2]

Zambia attended the Second Meeting of States Parties in September 2000, where it announced that it was working toward ratification and toward enacting the necessary domestic implementing legislation, given that international treaties signed by the Zambian government are not self-executing.[3] Zambia’s first transparency report required under Article 7 report will be due on 27 January 2002.

Zambia voted in favor of the November 2000 UN General Assembly resolution supporting the Mine Ban Treaty. The government participated in the Mine Ban Treaty intersessional Standing Committee meetings in December 2000 and May 2001. It also participated in the Bamako Seminar on the Universalization and Implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty in Africa, held in Mali on 15-16 February 2001.

The government’s reaction to the Landmine Monitor Report 2000 was generally positive.[4]

Zambia is not a signatory to Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Production, Transfer and Stockpiling

Zambia has not produced or exported antipersonnel mines. In June 2000, it told the UN that army keeps a small stock of antipersonnel mines for training purposes only.[5] There has been no disclosure of the number or types of mines in the stockpile. There have been no reports of preparations for stockpile destruction. One of the tasks of the National Task Force on Antipersonnel Mines Conventions is to “secure and promote training of the Personnel under the core sectors of the Convention, namely status, stockpile destruction, mine clearance, technologies on mines and social reintegration of victims.”[6]

In September 2000, Zambia’s Deputy Foreign Minister stated, “My country believes that the surest way of preventing the use of landmines lies in their total destruction. Stockpiling of antipersonnel mines under the guise of training is a loophole that could be capitalized on to justify the retention of large numbers of these weapons. It may, therefore, be necessary to specify the maximum number of mines which may be kept for training purposes.”[7]


The government states that the Zambian Armed Forces do not use and are not planning to use landmines.[8] Zambian security forces began encountering landmines in the 1970s during the Rhodesian (now Zimbabwe) war. The use of landmines in Zambia is to a large extent an imported problem, as rebel insurgents carried out “nuisance mining” in the border areas.[9] Typical of these types of operations, there are no maps of landmines laid in these areas.

There are unconfirmed reports of mines having been laid in December 2000 along the border with Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following fresh incursions of refugees and rebel armies on that frontier.[10] Landmine Monitor Report 2000 noted that Angolan government and UNITA forces both appeared to have laid antipersonnel mines inside Zambia in 2000.[11]

Landmine Problem and Assessment

During the Second Meeting of States Parties in September 2000, Zambia's Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Valentine Kayope stated that as a result of the wars of liberation in Southern Africa, Zambia's borders are littered with many mines, and a number of development projects are stalled due to the fear of the weapon. He said, "As a poor developing country, we have no means to free our land of these deadly devices. We need the assistance of the international community. We therefore call on those countries with appropriate technology to assist us in our endeavor to clear our land."[12]

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Zambia has a landmine problem in six of its nine provinces on the borders of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia.[13] The United Nations Mine Action Service conducted an assessment mission in Zambia from 29 May-7 June 2000. The UN characterized the landmine/unexploded ordnance problem as “mainly residual in nature and concentrated in sparsely populated border areas.”[14] The UN provided a list of six areas and eight roads confirmed or suspected to be mined, but noted that “there is reason to believe that the problem is of a localized nature within these areas.”[15]

The UN also said, “Overall, it can be generally concluded that the problem in Zambia is primarily unexploded ordnance, followed by antitank mines and antipersonnel mines.”[16] Types of antitank mines discovered include the TM-46 and the TM-57; types of antipersonnel mines found include the R2M1/2 and the POMZ-2. There have been no reports of mines in Zambia fitted with anti-handling devices.[17]

The UN stated, “It is apparent that the suspected presence of mines and UXO in Zambia frustrates longer-term development efforts. Landmines kill grazing livestock and prevent local populations from utilizing various areas and stretches of roads.” The UN said mines hamper increased agricultural activities and inhibit tourism.[18] The threat of landmines has limited community development programs. The Zambian government revealed that an electrical power rehabilitation project at Lake Kariba in southern province was delayed due to the suspected presence of mines along the project’s access routes. Work on the Gwembe-Tonga Development Project was stalled following an accident in May 1999 in which an antitank mine killed and critically injured officials of the World Bank, the funders of the project. The project has still not been re-started although its completion is a condition for further World Bank funding. [19]

In October 2000, a member of Parliament for Siavonga, a mine infested constituency in the southern province of Zambia, Frederick Hapunda urged the government to invite former freedom fighters in the region to identify areas inflicted with mines.[20] He said the absence of maps made it very difficult to know which areas were mined and therefore people in his constituency lived in perpetual fear.[21] Mined areas are not marked or fenced. In February 2001, Chief Sinazongwe, sent an urgent message to the government to quickly address the landmine problem in his area, which is near the border with Zimbabwe, stating the area is infested with mines.[22]

In October 2000, at the invitation of the Zambian governments, a team from the United States Department of State conducted a mine assessment mission. The mission focused on military to military cooperation to strengthen the Zambian corps of engineers for operational national mine action capability. The team visited a number of government officials and the Landmine Monitor researcher who is based at Afronet.[23] The government of Zambia is still negotiating with the US State Department for the training of deminers within the Zambian army, as well as material support for other mine-related activities.

National Task Force On Landmines

There has not been any coordinated effort to collect and consolidate mine-related information in Zambia.[24] A National Task Force on Landmines was established in 1999 and is presently headed by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Valentine Kayope.[25] Deputy Minister Kayope said its coordination and executing abilities are currently limited, noting, “We do not have a specific budget line to deal with mine clearance operations nor to implement policy at the operational level.”[26]

The National Task force is comprised of various ministries (Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs, Community Development and Social Services, Health, Agriculture, Land and Environment, Defence, and Education) and was formed primarily to address the landmine problem in terms of: developing a national strategic plan on mine action; building a national capacity for a mine action program to mobilize resources for the mine clearance; designing and implementing a pilot demining project in one or two provinces suspected to be mostly affected by the mines problem.

In September 2000, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a document titled, “The Work of the Zambia National Task Force on Anti-Personnel Mines Convention.” It outlined a series of steps the Task Force had developed to implement the Mine Ban Treaty, and noted that the Task Force had undertaken survey missions in some mine-affected areas and presented its findings.

Mine Clearance and Awareness

The Zambia Army and the Ministry of Home Affairs have carried out clearance activities since the 1970s in response to enemy-laid mines threatening Zambian troop operations.[27] The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for mine clearance. One squadron of about 240 personnel has mine clearance training. The unit has metal detectors, the performance and serviceability of which is constrained by inadequate resources. There are other limitations including the lack of protective equipment, suitable transport and communications equipment. UNMAS during its ten-day stay were unable to ascertain the professional competence and ability of the engineers to abide by international standards for humanitarian mine clearance.[28] The engineers have barracks in Copperbelt Province, hundreds of kilometers away from mine-affected areas. This situation is impractical for any effective mine clearance program.

The Ministry of Home Affairs Bomb Disposal Unit also responds to reports of landmines and UXO, and to requests for assistance from the Army.

The absence of a proper coordination center for mine action and the lack of systematic information collection and analysis hinder the development of a mine action program. The National Task Force has made recommendations for the establishment of a Zambia Mine Action Center (ZMAC) and it is hoped that it will be operational by July 2001.[29]

The government has approached several governments to assist in mine clearance because Zambia does not have the necessary funding for such an exercise.[30] In the view of UNMAS, only certain services should be contracted out, such as road verification and clearance of critical areas. For other mine action tasks, use of national military assets would seem more appropriate.

There have not been any sustained or organized mine awareness programs in Zambia. Army and Ministry of Home Affairs officials give impromptu mine awareness education when doing mine clearance in an area.[31]

Landmine Casualties/ Survivor Assistance/ Disability Policy and Practice

There are no accurate figures of mine victims in Zambia. While the figure given by the Zambian Red Cross is about 10,000 victims, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs, only 102 victims have been recorded since 1971.[32] A survey of sporadic media reports would indicate that there have been between 100 and 200 victims of landmines.

The public health service does not distinguish victims of landmine or UXO accidents from those patients injured by other causes. The lack of reliable data as to how many people fall victim to landmines has undermined any plans to form a national program on victim assistance. Landmines are localized in remote rural areas far from any telecommunications and road infrastructure.

According to the US State Department, persons with disabilities face discrimination in employment and education.  While steps have been taken to alleviate their problems, such as the establishment of a government-led national trust fund to provide loans to the disabled to assist in the establishment of businesses, efforts are limited by scarce resources.  The government has not legislated or otherwise mandated accessibility to public buildings and services for the disabled.[33]

<Previous | Next>

[1] Statement by Hon. K. S. Walubita, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the Occasion of the Ratification by Zambia of the Mine Ban Treaty, Lusaka, 15 February 2001.
[2] Foreign office officials said this in response to Landmine Monitor Report 2000 in which it was stated that Minister Walubita had not made signing of the treaty a priority, 29 January 2001.
[3] Statement Delivered by Hon. Valentine Kayope, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the Second Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 11-15 September 2000.
[4] On 31 January 2001, in an interview with Landmine Monitor, the Administration Officer for International Organizations, Mr. Matomola Singongi, stated that the government was generally impressed with the report but pointed out that the government was not reluctant to ratify the treaty as suggested in the report. He stated, “There are certain processes which have to happen before a final decision is made.”
[5] Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 192; United Nations Mine Action Service, “Mine Action Assessment Mission Report, Zambia,” 29 May-7 June 2000, p. 13.
[6] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “The Work of the Zambia National Task Force on Anti-Personnel Mines Convention,” September 2000.
[7] Statement delivered by Hon. Valentine W.C. Kayope, M.P. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 12 September 2000.
[8] United Nations Mine Action Service, “Mine Action Assessment Mission Report, Zambia,” 29 May-7 June 2000, p. 13.
[9] Ibid, p. 7.
[10] Interview with Foreign Affairs official, Lusaka, 29 January 2001.
[11] Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 193: “Landmine Monitor interviewed Angolan soldiers who admitted to laying AP mines on Zambian soil in 2000 in order to stop UNITA rebels from obtaining access to suspected rear bases. There have also been reports that UNITA rebels have laid some landmines in Cahvuma district to depopulate the border areas in order that their activities are not witnessed and to avoid being followed by the Zambian security forces.”
[12] Statement delivered by Hon. Valentine W.C. Kayope, M.P. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 12 September 2000.
[13] United Nations Mine Action Service, “Mine Action Assessment Mission Report, Zambia,” 29 May-7 June 2000, p. 7.
[14] Ibid, p. 3.
[15] Ibid, p. 8.
[16] Ibid, p. 8.
[17] Ibid, p. 8. Also, interview with Foreign Affairs official, Lusaka, 29 January 2001.
[18] Ibid, p. 10
[19] Ibid, p. 9; Times of Zambia, 2 October 2000.
[20] Remarks by Mr. Hapunda to a meeting organized by the National Task Force on Landmines, Lusaka, 1 October 2000.
[21] A similar statement was made by Sinazongwe member of Parliament, Syacheye Madyenkuku who stated that development projects in Gwembe valley had been stalled because of the threat of landmines, Sinazongwe, 20 January 2001.
[22] Sinazongwe is a district in the south of Zambia near the Zimbabwean Border. Chief Sinazongwe made this call on 17 February 2001 to a group of journalists from the Zambian Information Services.
[23] The team was made up of Robert A Dolce, Policy Analyst, Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs; Arnold Sierra, Humanitarian Demining Officer; Col. Richard Thresher, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Assistance; and Stuart Chenea, program manager of the United States European Command, Humanitarian Demining Program.
[24] On 1 October 2000, Mr. Kayope said there was a need to set up a database on landmines and training of military units and personnel to attain international demining standards. He was speaking at a meeting organized by the National Task Force on Landmines at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Lusaka.
[25] Mr. Kayope is now a full Cabinet Minister and it is uncertain as to whether he will continue chairing the Task Force.
[26] Mr. Kayope was speaking to the press after he met with the UNMAS team in Lusaka, May 2000.
[27] Interview with Todd Mulyata, Senior EOD Specialist, Ministry of Home Affairs, Geneva, 11 May 2001.
[28] UNMAS, “Mine Action Assessment Mission Report, Zambia,” 29 May-7 June 2000, p. 11.
[29] Interview with Todd Mulyata, Geneva, 11 May 2001.
[30] Interview with Matomola Singongi, Desk Officer on Landmines, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lusaka, January 2001.
[31] United Nations Mine Action Service, “Mine Action Assessment Mission Report, Zambia,” 29 May-7 June 2000, p. 12.
[32] UNMAS, “Mine Action Assessment Mission Report, Zambia,” 29 May-7 June 2000, p. 9.
[33] US Department of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2000: Zambia, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, February 2001.

(See: http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/).