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Somalia: Weapons Destruction & Landmine Clearance

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
August 4, 2008

Conventional Weapons Destruction and Landmine Clearance in Somalia

The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U. S. Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has launched a $1.4 million conventional weapons destruction program, which will also include the clearance of landmines and explosive remnants of war throughout heavily affected areas of northern Somalia.

This initiative is being carried out through grants to MAG America (http://www.maginternational.org/usa/about/) and The HALO Trust (http://www.halotrust.org/). MAG will destroy stockpiles of conventional weapons collected from three military camps in Puntland, a region with 2.4 million people located in northern Somalia. The grant will also fund the continued deployment of a MAG explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team tasked with identifying and destroying new stockpiles of munitions. Additionally, MAG will provide training to develop local EOD capacity.

The grant to The HALO Trust will reinforce landmine clearance operations in Somaliland. With over 440 local Somali staff, HALO Trust is already the largest humanitarian demining organization in that region. Specifically, the grant will support HALO Trust manual demining teams which are equipped with state-of-the-art Handheld Standoff Mine Detection System (HSTAMIDS) mine detectors, developed by the U.S. Department of Defense's Humanitarian Demining Research & Development Program.

Decades of conflict in Somalia continue to threaten political and economic stability in the Horn of Africa region. Weapons caches, landmines, and explosive remnants of war endanger the populace and provide a steady supply of arms to terrorists and insurgents. These grants will improve the situation by decreasing the impact of landmines and explosive remnants of war while enabling enhanced development and humanitarian relief programs throughout the countryside.

Visit www.state.gov/t/pm/wra to learn more about the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement's conventional weapons destruction programs, including its humanitarian mine action efforts around the world.

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Released on August 4, 2008

ENDS

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