There are over 100 million antipersonnel mines and items of unexploded ordnance (UXO) that need to be removed and destroyed to reduce the occurrence of accidents that take lives, destroy housing and spoil large swaths of land. Every day unearths a different item of ordnance in the mine action industry, each with its own, often fatal, risk.
Since 2016, TDI Multi Task teams in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have conducted surveys and clearance efforts in the Tanganyika and North Kivu provinces. During which, the teams have extracted a variety of unexploded ordnance that were used against rebel forces during the conflict between 1994 and 2003. These items range from small arms ammunition and mortar bombs to grenades and rockets.
Information received from residents has assisted in the location of unexploded ordnance in surrounding areas while remnants of war have also been surrendered to TDI teams for demolition. In Benavidyei Village in Kongolo, TDI teams recently removed an aircraft bomb, used by the Congolese military during bombing raids. As with other hazardous ordnance, the aircraft bomb was destroyed, followed by a safety briefing presented to residents located nearby.
The prevalence of these items tragically cost the lives of many civilians in at-risk areas. The clearance efforts conducted by TDI in the DRC are welcomed by residents who face daily threats from these hazardous devices. However small, the risk posed to residents is reduced, despite the long road ahead of us.