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Country Reports
Republic Of Congo, Landmine Monitor Report 2004

Republic Of Congo

Key developments since May 2003: The Republic of Congo destroyed its stockpile of 5,136 antipersonnel mines in September 2003, well in advance of its November 2005 deadline. It is retaining 372 mines for training purposes.

Key developments since 1999: The Republic of Congo acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 4 May 2001, and became a State Party on 1 November 2001. Implementation legislation was reportedly drafted in 2002, but is still not in place. In September 2003, the Republic of Congo destroyed its stockpile of 5,136 antipersonnel mines, retaining 372 for training purposes. It hosted a workshop on implementation of the treaty and mine action in Brazzaville in May 2003.

Mine Ban Policy

The Republic of Congo was not active in the Ottawa Process and did not sign the Mine Ban Treaty in December 1997. The government finally acceded to the treaty on 4 May 2001, and it entered into force on 1 November 2001. In September 2002, the Republic of Congo reported that implementation legislation, including the creation of a National Committee for the Elimination of Antipersonnel Mines, as well as penal sanctions in case of violation of the law, had been drafted. No progress has been reported since.[1]

The Republic of Congo submitted its initial Article 7 transparency report, due by 4 May 2002, on 12 September 2002 and an update on 4 May 2004.[2]

The Republic of Congo participated in the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in Bangkok, Thailand, in September 2003, as it did in the two previous annual meetings. Since 2002, it has attended all the intersessional Standing Committee meetings in Geneva, including in February and June 2004.

Regionally active, the Republic of Congo, with the support of the Canadian Embassy, hosted a workshop on the Implementation of the Ottawa Convention and Mine Action in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and in the Republic of Congo, in Brazzaville on 7 and 8 May 2003.[3] It also participated in a roundtable organized by the Agence de Diffusion de Droit Internationale Humanitaire en Afrique Centrale (ADDIHAC), during that organization’s “Congolese week for a mine-free world,” held in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, between 10 and 20 December 2003. It also participated in a landmine meeting for Central African states held in Brussels, Belgium in November 2002, and a continent-wide landmine conference in Bamako, Mali, in February 2001. Additionally, the Republic of Congo attended the International Colloquium of the National Structures in Charge of the Mine Issue, organized by France’s CNEMA (Commission Nationale pour l'Elimination des Mines Antipersonnel), and held in Paris on 12-13 March 2004.

The Republic of Congo has not engaged in the extensive discussions that States Parties have had on matters of interpretation and implementation related to Articles 1, 2, and 3. Thus, it has not made known its views on issues related to joint military operations with non-States Parties, foreign stockpiling and transit of antipersonnel mines, antivehicle mines with sensitive fuzes or antihandling devices, and the permissible number of mines retained for training.

On 8 December 2003, the Republic of Congo voted in favor of the UN General Assembly Resolution 58/53 supporting universalization and implementation of the Mine Ban Treaty. It has voted in favor of every annual pro-ban UNGA resolution since 1996, except in 2000, when it was absent from the vote.

The country is not party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons.

Use, Production, Transfer, Stockpiling and Destruction

No mine use has been reported in the Republic of Congo since 1997, when mines were used during its civil war.[4]

The Republic of Congo is not known to have produced or exported antipersonnel mines. It conducted a weapons inventory in July 2003, including in territories formerly not under government control. It discovered 418 antipersonnel mines more than previously reported.[5] In September 2003, the Republic of Congo destroyed its stockpile of 5,136 antipersonnel mines.[6] It will retain 372 mines for training purposes.[7] On 9 September 2003, 3,350 antipersonnel mines were destroyed in Brazzaville, and on 13 September 2003 another 1,786 antipersonnel mines were destroyed in Pointe-Noire.[8] Canada provided funding for the destruction.[9]

Landmine Problem, Survey, Clearance and Funding

The country experienced a mine problem as a result of the civil war, but clearance began with the end of the conflict and by 2000, mines were no longer considered to be a major concern.[10]

The Cabinda enclave in the southwest of the country on the border with Angola and the DRC is suspected to have been mined in the 1970s by the Front de Libération de l'Enclave du Cabinda (FLEC).[11] The entire territory has a serious unexploded ordnance (UXO) problem.[12] The population there, warned about the possible danger, has long abandoned agricultural activities in the enclave.[13]

On several occasions, the Republic of Congo entered into talks with Angola and the DRC to try to plan joint actions in the area, but without success. Mindful of its Article 5 clearance deadline, the government decided to carry out an assessment mission in Cabinda on its own before September 2004.[14] The Republic of Congo has called upon donor countries to provide support for a clearance program.[15]

In 2003, four of its military were trained in demining techniques at the regional mine clearance training center for ECOWAS member states in Ouidah, Benin.[16]

The Republic of Congo received US$32,619 from Canada in 2003, $22,281 of which was for conference support and the remainder, $10,338, for stockpile destruction.[17]

Landmine/UXO Casualties

There are no known mine survivors in the Republic of Congo. However, there are occasionally reports of casualties caused by UXO. In 2003, about ten UXO casualties were reported; all were treated at the International Committee of the Red Cross-supported military hospital in Bangui.[18] In 2001, a man and a boy were killed and a woman injured in a UXO explosion and in 2000, eleven children were killed while playing with a German-made shell in a school playground.[19]

[1] Article 7 Report, Form A, 12 September 2002. No progress was reported in Article 7 Report, Form A, 4 May 2004. Interview with Col. Léonce Nkabi, Commander of the First Regiment of Engineers, Geneva, 22 June 2004.
[2] The initial report covers the period up to August 2002, and the first update the period from 30 April 2003 to 30 April 2004. Landmine Monitor was given a copy of an annual report dated 30 April 2003, covering the period 1 November 2002 to 30 April 2003, but this report was apparently never officially received by the United Nations. The report contained no new information. See Landmine Monitor Report 2003, pp. 206-207.
[3] Landmine Monitor Report 2003, p. 207.
[4] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 189-191; Landmine Monitor Report 2000, pp. 197-198.
[5] Statement by Col. Léonce Nkabi, Commander of the First Regiment of Engineers, Fifth Meeting of States Parties, Bangkok, 19 September 2003. In its 2002 Article 7 Report, the Republic of Congo had declared a stockpile of 4,718 antipersonnel mines (plus 372 retained for training.) In its 2001 report, Landmine Monitor had reported that a military official had stated that the country had a stockpile of 700-900,000 antipersonnel landmines, mostly East German-manufactured PPMs, but also POMZ and PMNs; see Landmine Monitor Report 2001, p. 68. Government officials have denied the claim.
[6] The initial 4,718 slated for destruction included: 987 PPM-2 mines; 517 PMN-58 plastic mines; 2,716 POMZ-2 mines; and 548 PMD mines.
[7] The 372 mines retained for training are: 96 German PPM-2; 50 Soviet PMN-58; 176 Soviet POMZ-2; and 50 Soviet PMD-6.
[8] Copies of the destruction records were attached to the statement by Col. Léonce Nkabi, Fifth Meeting of States Parties, 19 September 2003. The destruction was not reported in Congo’s subsequent Article 7 report.
[9] See Canada entry in this report. See also, “Thousands of antipersonnel mines destroyed,” IRIN (Brazzaville), 10 September 2003.
[10] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 191-192; Landmine Monitor Report 2000, pp. 197-198.
[11] Article 7 Report, Form C, 4 May 2004.
[12] Interview with Col. Léonce Nkabi, 22 June 2004, who said his team clears UXO on a daily basis. Also, statements of Col. Léonce Nkabi, Commander of the First Regiment of Engineers, intersessional Standing Committee meetings, Geneva, 11 February 2004 and 22 June 2004.
[13] Article 7 Report, Form I, 4 May 2004.
[14] The Republic of Congo reportedly received the necessary funds to conduct such a mission from the US. Interview with Col. Léonce Nkabi, 22 June 2004.
[15] Statements by Col. Léonce Nkabi, Standing Committee meetings, 11 February 2004 and 22 June 2004.
[16] “Benin Mine Clearance Training Center,” document provided by Thomas Adoumasse, Deputy Director, Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, February 2004.
[17] See Canada entry in this Landmine Monitor Report 2004.
[18] Interview with Col. Léonce Nkabi, 22 June 2004.
[19] “Abandoned bomb kills two in Brazzaville,” Pan African News Agency, 29 October 2001.