Goto main content

A day of demining in Casamance

Explosive weapons
Senegal

The sun has just come up. After the team has loaded up the equipment, Aziz, Handicap International's Head of Demining Operations, motivates the troops and reminds them of the day's objective: demining the village of Diagnon, located around fifty kilometres out of Ziguinchor. 

© J-J. Bernard / Handicap International

Arriving on site at 8 am, Aziz and Charles, his right-hand man, assess the site: the configuration of the zone to be cleared of mines and the surrounding area, any anticipated difficulties, the choice of operating procedure, etc.

 

At the same time the deminers unload and inspect the equipment.

 

Just like every morning, Charles holds an operational briefing and reminds everyone of the safety instructions.

 

Each deminer takes their equipment and gets ready.

 

Everyone is very focused before swinging into action.

 

It is 9 am. The deminers are ready to get started.

 

Before any intervention, the vegetation needs to be cleared from the zones to be demined.

 

Jonathan, the dog handler, spends time with his two mine detection dogs. He checks that they are in good condition before taking them out into the zone to be demined.

 

Today, Katja is going to work with her handler in 45 minute phases with breaks in-between. 

 

In situations where the dogs cannot work, the deminer uses a metal detector. They sometimes wear extremely light air cushion soles for improved safety.

 

Aziz, the Head of Demining Operations, goes out to greet the village authorities. It is important to maintain good relations with them and keep them informed about Handicap International's operations.

 

It is 3 pm and the team needs to get back before the army checkpoints are set up for the night in this unstable region. They head home with the satisfaction of a job well done - the team can be extremely proud of themselves!

 

 

Where your
support
helps

PRESS CONTACT

CANADA

Fatou Thiam

USA

Mica BEVINGTON

 

Help them
concretely

To go further

 Increase of use of landmines driven by Russia, Myanmar and non-state armed groups Explosive weapons

Increase of use of landmines driven by Russia, Myanmar and non-state armed groups

The Landmine Monitor 2022 reports a high number of casualties caused by landmines - including improvised mines and explosive remnants of war - for the seventh year in a row. The Monitor recorded 5,544 casualties in 2021. 75% of them were civilians. This high figure is mainly the result of increased armed conflicts and contamination with improvised mines since 2015. The use of landmines by the Russian and Myanmar armies, as well as by non-state armed groups in five countries, are the main factors of a sharp global increase of the use of these weapons in 2022.

States will gather in Geneva from November 21th to 25th for the 20th annual Mine Ban Treaty conference. As we celebrate the 25 years of the Ottawa Treaty, HI urges States to pressure parties to conflict to end the use of these barbaric weapons and to support the funding of victims assistance that is shrinking despite growing needs and high casualty rates in recent years.

Read the full report.

80 States have made history by endorsing the international agreement against bombing on towns and cities
© G. Lordet / HI
Explosive weapons

80 States have made history by endorsing the international agreement against bombing on towns and cities

Acknowledging the devastating humanitarian consequences of bombing and shelling of towns and cities, 80 States adopted an international agreement to better protect civilians from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, at the Dublin Conference on November 18, 2022.

The day I stepped on a mine, my fate was sealed
© J. M. Vargas / HI
Explosive weapons

The day I stepped on a mine, my fate was sealed

Marta Quintero has been part of HI’s demining operations in Colombia for seven years. She is working for the future of her country with an unerring determination born out of personal experience.