In the north-east of Mali, successful mine clearing efforts

Jan 26, 2010

Operations to get rid of mines in Tinzawatene by the Mali army (photo: UNDP)
Tinzawatene, a small town in the extreme north-east of Mali, is now entirely free of anti-personnel mines.

Today, the municipality and its surrounding area are poised to enjoy an economic revival, while displaced communities are returning home once again.

The de-mining operations were carried out thanks to the Malian government's program for promoting governance, security, and peace. The UNDP has provided financial and technical support for this initiative in collaboration with the Swiss and Luxembourg foreign aid authorities. The de-mining operations were carried out by a corps of military engineers in the context of the Djiguitougou operation, under escort by a military detachment.

The mayor of Tinzawatene, Tigliana Ag Sidi (photo: UNDP)
Situated more than 2000 kilometers from Bamako, in a mountainous desert area, Tinzawatene and the region of Kidal had been at the epicenter of an armed conflict between Tuareg rebels and government forces.

The Tuareg leader, Ibrahim Ag Bahanga, had turned this area into his personal fief, having taken up the armed struggle in spite of the signing, the previous year, of the Algerian peace accords which had officially put an end to the rebellion.

The use of mines, unprecedented in Mali, had led to numerous military and civil casualties and had created a mood of panic reflected in the closing down of schools and disruption of business activity.

Thanks to the Djiguitougou operation, mine detection had made it possible to identify mines, unexploded grenades, and signaling rocket cartridges.

School in the Kidai region (photo: UNDP)
 "As a result of the mine clearance operation, it has been possible for 2257 individuals to return to their homes within the municipality, to reopen the school, and to get business activities back on track," said Tigliana Ag Sidi, the mayor of Tinzawatene.

The mine clearing exercise has facilitated the resumption of transportation operations. Today, stockbreeders are once again able to perform their migratory herding activities by transporting their livestock and watering them by means of tanker trucks. This state of affairs has made it possible to open up previously inaccessible pastureland and watering points.

The "Shared governance for security and peace" (GPSP) programme was launched in September 2008 and will be in operation for a 3-year period.

The objective of this programme is to create a climate of security, stability and peace that promotes sustainable development and facilitates poverty alleviation efforts. The GPSP programme comes under the jurisdiction of the Minister for Internal Security and Civil Protection.
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