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Profile of InterSOS Activity in Humanitarian Demining

Salvatore Camboni and Steffano Calabretta, InterSOS

Issue 2.2 | October 1998 | Information in this issue may be out of date. Click here to link to the most recent issue.

InterSOS is an Italian-based Humanitarian Non-profit Organization working in emergency aid in several countries of the world in critical situations, such as Bosnia, Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia and Albania, in collaboration with specialized UN Agencies, the European Union and the Italian Government.

InterSOS involvement in demining activities started from its experience in emergency and post-emergency situation where we faced a large number of mine casualties and severe constraints to the restart of socioeconomic life due to mine pollution. This is the case in Bosnia, where house rehabilitation projects we were implementing were hampered by mine presence both in rural and in urban areas. Therefore, we decided to take part in the mine cleaning efforts of the international community and we looked for the specific technical know-how needed.

We found the know-how in the Engineers Corps of the Italian Army and particularly in the association of the retired personnel of the Engineers Corps (ANGET), with which we established an agreement for operational collaboration.

Starting from this base, InterSOS established its own Unit for Humanitarian Demining (UHD), joining this humanitarian background with the technical expertise of ANGET. The InterSOS UHD has so far implemented demining actions in Bosnia and Angola.

In Bosnia we implemented a number of structural mine clearance actions, the most important being

  • in the Dobrinja District, on the Serb side of Sarajevo, in the framework of a rehabilitation project - funded by the Italian Government - of a house block, along the inter-entity border line that in that point is crossing the town. It was mainly a problem of unexploded ordnance that were removed in collaboration with the authorities of the Serbian-Bosnian entity;
  • in the Mumbasici Village, in the Tuzla canton, in the framework of a house reconstruction project funded by the European Commission, several APL were located and removed in collaboration with an external mine-detecting dog team;
  • checking surveys from booby-traps, undertaken in public-service buildings (schools, health structures, etc.) before rehabilitation works.

In Angola, experts of the InterSOS UHD are presently operating as supervisor in a White Helmets/UNDP project aimed at the clearing of the territory of the Cuando Cubango Province through the training and employment of the 7th Deminer Brigade of the national body in charge for mine clearing (INAROE).

As a matter of fact, InterSOS developed well-integrated experiences in the field of traditional humanitarian demining and is wishful to participate in research and testing of more advanced technology, which could improve the pace and security of demining activities.

For more information about InterSOS and our activities, please contact Mr. Salvatore Camboni or Mr. Stefano Calabretta at:

 Via Goito 39
 00185 Roma,  Italy
 Tel: +39-6-4466710
 Fax: +39-6-4469290