Who we are
The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) is a division of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations that works to ensure an effective, proactive and coordinated response to landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW), including cluster munitions, by collaborating with 14 other UN agencies.
In MINUSCA, UNMAS is represented by the Weapons and Explosive Hazards Management section operating and reporting under the pillar of protection of civilians headed by the DSRSG/Political. The section works towards the implementation of a Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM) framework in the Central African Republic
Why we are here?
The security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) deteriorated in 2013. Large quantities of weapons, obsolete ammunition, explosive remnants of war (ERW) and small arms ammunition are continuously circulating in the country. Not only have armed groups such as Séléka and Anti-Balaka taken weapons, but they are also dispersed throughout the civilian population. Adding to the humanitarian and security risk is the existence of large quantities of munitions in inappropriate storage facilities around the capital, Bangui. Poor storage conditions, non-existent ammunition management and a lack of physical security place civilians and local infrastructure at risk.
At the request of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in CAR (BINUCA) and national authorities, UNMAS deployed to CAR in January 2014. Shortly thereafter, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2149 (2014), establishing the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), which assigned UNMAS the task of restoring a more secure humanitarian environment. MINUSCA’s mandate was renewed under resolution 2217 (2015), again retreating the importance of “addressing the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation, and misuse of small arms and light weapons in the CAR, and to ensure the safe and effective management, storage and security of stockpiles of small arms and light weapons,”
What we do ?
UNMAS provides technical assistance and support by:
- removing and destroying Explosive Remnants of War (ERW);
- engaging in Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM);
- inspecting and safeguarding weapons and ammunition recovered from former combatants;
- building the capacities of national authorities with regards to Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and stockpile management;
- and by providing risk education and explosive awareness to the civilian population, national defense and security forces, as well as UN personnel as required
Moreover, UNMAS stands in support to S/RES/2196(2015) renewing the Armed Embargo and the mandate of the Panel of Experts assisting the CAR Sanctions Committee following Res.2127 reiterating “the assistance of MINUSCA and international partners, to address the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons in the CAR, and to ensure the safe and effective management, storage, and security of their stockpiles of small arms and light weapons and the collection and/or destruction of surplus, seized, unmarked, or illicitly held weapons and ammunition and further stresses the importance of incorporating such elements into SSR and DDR programme”.
What we have done?
- Surveyed and identified 85 tons of ammunition poorly stocked within Bangui, leading to a disposal operation.
- Destroyed 790 weapons through weapon shear cutting operations by 12 UNMAS-trained FACA/Gendarmerie elements.
- Destroyed 9.2 tons of ammunition (in coordination with French Forces).
- Safeguarded and classified 68 weapons and 80 grenades at camp RDOT (ex-combatants) and surveyed 4 Tons of ammunition at camp Beal.
- 223 UXOs (Unexploded Ordnance) were collected and destroyed while 1115 items were neutralized with spots tasks.
- Trained 19 participants on counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) awareness within MINUSCA, who will be able to replicate the training in their respective units.
- Assessed 28 police/gendarmeries in addition to prisons and customs office between Bangui Bouar, Berberati and Bria.
- 448 Risk education sessions targeting 22,686 beneficiaries
- Assessed, marked and recorded 2859 guns collected through ground operations, further contributing to the control of the illicit circulation and flow of weapons undermining stability and the rule of law.
The Road Ahead
UNMAS will continue to contribute to the objectives of MINUSCA by helping professionalize and equip national defense and security forces, as requested; by developing their capacity in weapons and ammunition management and by inducing safe behaviour. UNMAS will further support the efforts of the humanitarian sector by improving protection of civilians through the tasking and coordination of all civilian Mine Action operators and stakeholders.
1. Protection of Civilians:
- Risk Education campaign on the dangers of explosives will continue in Bangui and across the country
- Armed Violence Reduction campaign to be implemented to contribute to the stabilization of the CAR by developing community safety in the most fragile areas of the country. Handover of weapons will also be expected
- Explosive hazards reduction through spot interventions by technical experts in communities and survey/clearance of IDP camps.
2. Support to DDR:
- Assistance to pre-DDR activities through the destruction of weapons and ammunition collected during operations while ensuring registration, safety, tracing and appropriate storage in field locations when applicable.
3. Support to Panel of Experts:
- Support the the panel of experts in the application of the arms embargo through the provision of recommendation reports and relevant information on the status of armament in the Central African Republic.
4. Safe and effective management, storage and security of stockpiles of small arms and light weapons
- Construction/Rehabilitation of weapons and ammunition storage facilities for national forces.
- Construction of 1 permanent armoury for small arms ammunition to stock 1000 weapons for the Forces Armées Centrafricaines- FACA
- Construction of 1 temporary ammunition depot for safe and secure bulk ammunition storage away from the population center.
- Capacity enhancement of national security forces to better manage their weapons and ammunition through exhaustive trainings armoury management and explosive ordnance disposal (the latter pending Sanction committee exemption request)
- Establishing a strategic committee on Weapons and Ammunition Management (WAM) to develop and implement a revised national strategy.
5. Support to MINUSCA
- Assessment of MINUSCA TCC locations for rehabilitation and training in Weapons and Ammunition Management.
- Developing a counter C-IED strategy with MINUSCA forces through the provision of 1 C-IED/EOD fully equipped team in the eventuality of a threat.
UNMAS Website Link http://www.mineaction.org/programmes/centralafricanrepublic