Issue 7.2, August 2003

The Progress of Mozambique’s Accelerated Demining Programme

In order to help make Mozambique a safer place, the Accelerated Demining Program (ADP) has expanded its capabilities with the addition of more mine detection dogs (MDDs) and a new mechanical clearance device.

by Florencio Chongo, ADP

Beginning of training for new dogs and handlers in Moamba Training Centre.

I am pleased to announce that preparations are well-in-hand to effectively increase ADP’s capabilities and expand the “toolbox.” Downsizing the manual demining workforce, while increasing and improving the programme’s MDD and mechanically assisted minefield preparation components, has allowed us to achieve this progress. ADP has recently increased its capacity for seven more MDDs. Funded by the United Methodist Church, these MDDs just recently completed their training. Along with the previous five, ADP now has 12 working MDDs.

ADP Headquarters is based in Maputo and provides operational, logistic, financial and administrative functions. Its regional headquarters are located in the Maputo and Inhambane Provinces to better support field operations. Field elements in 2003 will be comprised of nine demining platoons, two independent demining sections for smaller clearance tasks, four survey teams and four MDD teams. Demining platoons are capable of operating in section-sized groupings in order to rapidly respond to priority tasks. ADP employs 393 Mozambican staff and two expatriate Technical Advisors.

The ADP has been participating in the annual U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Humanitarian Demining Research and Development (R&D) Program Requirements Workshop since 1999. The U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command’s (CECOM’s) Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) runs this program at Fort Belvoir. The most recent workshop was held July 1417 of 2003 in Crystal City, Virginia. ADP has had experience with large clearance machinery in the past and has encountered many mobility constraints from task to task due to road or vegetation problems. During our workshop participation as part of the R&D program, we asked for a piece of lightweight, easily mobile machinery to test in Mozambique.

Armtrac 100 cutting vegetation in Mavanza district, Inhambane Province. TEMPEST remote-controlled Mini-Flail cutting vegetation in MalaiÁa district, Inhambane province.

The U.S. DoD decided in July 2002 that ADP would begin testing the TEMPEST Mk4 (a remote-controlled Mini-Flail) in January 2003. Training started with local instruction about machine operation and small break repairs. Actual operations began in February for a trial period of six months. This trial is provided under the U.S. DoD’s Developmental Technologies Programme at a minimal cost to ADP. We have a great deal of interest in the machine. First, because it is lightweight and, therefore, highly mobile, the TEMPEST offers greater flexibility in terms of deployment compared to larger commercial machines. Second, in terms of design, the machine has been specifically engineered to be sustainable with standard off-the-shelf components available in the developing world. ADP has already asked the U.S. DoD for a trial extension period of six months because of the accomplishments achieved by this machine. Due to its excellent results in Mozambique, the TEMPEST will be modified in the near future. The next generation of the TEMPEST (TEMPEST Mk5) will have more speed and engine power capacity.

When the ADP started, there were no dog or machine resources. With the gradual good employment of less manual labor and more canine and machine resources, we have been able to better meet all stakeholders’ expectations. In conclusion, I would like to say that we support demining equipment R&D programs with operator’s combination for wherever landmine problems exist.

Figure 1: Land cleared in Mozambique from 1995 to 2002 in sq m.

*All graphics courtesy of John Machava.

Contact Information

Mr. Florencio Chongo
Accelerated Demining Programme
2770 Av. De Angola
Tel: (258) 1 46 60 11
Fax: (258) 1 46 60 13