Upon request by the United Nations, the Danish Demining Group (DDG) under the Danish Refugee Council has removed an unexploded ordnance from a refugee site in South Sudan’s Unity State. This is the second time this year that DDG has provided mine action expertise to refugee sites in South Sudan, which underlines the important role that humanitarian mine action plays in protecting refugees and securing humanitarian access.
The Danish Demining Group (DDG) has removed an unexploded ordnance – also known as a UXO – that was found a few kilometres from Nyeel refugee camp in South Sudan’s Unity State. The United Nation’s Mine Action Service (UNMAS) tasked DDG to dispose the UXO because the organisation has the right expertise and already had mine action teams deployed in Unity State.
Justin Green, Operations Manager in DDG South Sudan, explains what the team found when they reached the site: “This particular UXO was a rocked propelled grenade. These are shoulder-fired grenades typically used to target vehicles. It would probably have been fatal to anyone within a 15-20 meter radius if it hadn’t been discovered and disposed in the right way. When our team arrived, the police had already taken the UXO to the police station where it was stored inside a tyre. After assessing that it was safe to remove it, our team transported it to a safe storage site to await disposal.”
More than 20 years of civil war has left South Sudan covered with UXOs. This is not the first time that DDG has removed UXOs from refugee sites in South Sudan. In May this year, DDG removed an aircraft bomb from Yida refugee camp, which is also located in Unity State.
Kate Norton, Country Director for DRC DDG South Sudan explains why mine action is essential for providing humanitarian assistance: “UXOs pose a serious threat to the population and it is obvious that when they are located so close to refugee camps, they can cause a lot of harm to refugees, host populations and the humanitarian actors working in the camps. Humanitarian mine action is very important for the protection of refugees and providing humanitarian access”.
In other areas of Unity State during the same week, DDG teams gave Mine Risk Education to over 800 people, located and moved 217 UXOs from the Catholic Church grounds in Mayom Country and assessed and released an area of over 13,250,000 square metres that had been suspected of being a minefield previously.