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Territory: 637,657 km²

Population: 10.4 million

Estimated contaminated area: unknown, 19.9 km² confirmed

Mine Situation in Somalia

The Somali Civil War is an ongoing conflict that started as a resistance movement against the Siad Barre regime in the 1980s. Different clan-based armed groups began to fight independently against the country's armed forces and managed to overthrow the regime in 1991. After the fall of the Siad Barre regime, the fighting continued amongst the different clans, which all competed to obtain power. Instability in the Somali government has caused dreadful fighting that still continues today. Northern Somalia declared itself independent as Somaliland; however, the independence of Somaliland is not recognized by any country or international organisation.

Decades of civil war have left Somalia contaminated with around one million mines and countless unexploded ordnance (UXO). The exact location of mine affected areas is unknown since no records were kept by those who laid the landmines. This has made the task of mine clearance extremely difficult for demining organisations. Furthermore, mine action, including mine risk education and mine clearance, has been extremely limited due to the lack of stability in the Somali government.

The records estimate that there have been thousands of landmine and UXO casualties. In the Bay and Bakool regions, 4,357 landmine casualties were recorded between 1995 and 2000 alone. Furthermore, members of mine affected communities cope with other serious limitations in their everyday life, for instance limited access to food and the resulting famines.

DEMIRA in Somalia

Upon the European Commission's request, DEMIRA participated in a survey for determining mine affected areas in Somalia. The European Commission planned to eliminate the threats posed by unexploded ordnance and its impact on the local communities through mine clearance and awareness campaigns. In order to assess the mine situation in the country, DEMIRA made explorations in the North East and North West of Somalia in 2005. During these surveys, DEMIRA was able to determine that many areas in this region have a high presence of landmines, and pose a serious threat to the local population.