Landmine Monitor 1999

Africa

For the purposes of this report, those countries who have consented to be bound by the Mine Ban Treaty, but have not yet completed the six-month waiting period, are included in the States Parties Section.

MBT Signature and Ratification

Of the forty-eight countries in Africa, forty have signed the Mine Ban Treaty (thirty-five during the Ottawa signing conference in early December 1997, and another five since then--Zambia, São Tomé and Principe, Chad, Sierra Leone, and Equatorial Guinea, which acceded).

The only non-signatories are: Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea, Liberia, Nigeria and Somalia.

Of the forty signatories, seventeen had ratified as of 31 March 1999. In chronological order, they are: Mauritius, Djibouti, Mali, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, Burkina Faso, Namibia, Senegal, Benin, Guinea, Lesotho, Swaziland, Uganda, and Niger. Landmine Monitor country reports indicate that the ratification process is underway in about half of those nations that have not yet ratified.

APM Use

The government of Angola, a treaty signatory, has laid new antipersonnel mines in 1998 and 1999. UNITA forces have also used APMs in the renewed fighting. It also seems certain that signatories Guinea-Bissau and Senegal used mines while fighting together against rebellious military forces in Guinea-Bissau in 1998. Senegal ratified the treaty in September 1998 during a ceasefire period. There have also been allegations of use by signatories Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but there is no concrete evidence and the accused governments have denied laying mines.

Mines have been used in 1998 and/or early 1999 by rebel forces in Angola, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, and Uganda, as well as by various factions in Somalia. There have also been frequent allegations of use in the DRC by government forces, rebels, and foreign armies, in Eritrea by government troops, and in Sudan by the government and rebels.

APM Production and Export

There are currently no antipersonnel landmine producers or exporters in Africa. (Egypt, which still produces mines, is included in the Middle East/North Africa section of this report). In the past, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe and, possibly, Namibia produced APMs. South Africa and Zimbabwe were also exporters.

APM Stockpiles

There is almost no hard data on the number of antipersonnel mines in the stockpiles of African nations, either signatories or non-signatories. Few countries have even begun destruction of stocks.

South Africa (243,423 mines) and Namibia (50 tons of mines and UXOs) indicate that they have destroyed their entire operational stocks of APMs. Mali, Guinea-Bissau, and possibly Uganda and Gabon have destroyed part of their APM stockpiles.

Those with APM stockpiles today include all of the non-signatories, except possibly Comoros, plus Angola, Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. It is uncertain whether the following have mine stocks: Botswana, Burundi, Guinea, Tanzania, and Togo.

Landmine Problem and Mine Action

Africa is often called the most heavily mined continent. Severely affected countries include Angola, Mozambique, Somalia (and Somaliland), Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. Others include Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Zambia, Chad, Namibia, Burundi, Uganda, DR Congo, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Congo-Brazzaville, Djibouti, Malawi, Niger, South Africa and Swaziland.

Mine clearance operations are underway in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe with varying degrees of success. Some $116 million has been spent on mine action in Mozambique, likely more than any other country except possibly Afghanistan. More than $50 million has been spent in Angola, $12 million in Rwanda, and about $8 million in both Eritrea and Ethiopia.