German deputy ambassador visits Somaliland

German Deputy Ambassador Visits Somaliland  

The HALO Trust’s Somaliland programme was delighted to host Christian Resch, Germany’s Deputy Ambassador to Somalia, this week for a three day visit.  

During the visit time was spent reviewing German funded mine clearance teams at Gocondhaale and Khatumo minefields, situated along the border between Somaliland and Ethiopia. These minefields were the scene of significant minelaying following the Ogaden War in the late 1970s and their landmines continue to kill and injure civilians and livestock, even decades after the end of hostilities. However, since beginning operations in the region in 1999, the hard work and dedication of HALO’s demining teams has significantly reduced the hidden menace that has threatened communities by clearing 280 minefields in all six regions of Somaliland.  

The HALO team and Mr. Resch also visited Dararweyne minefield, which was laid to protect a Somali National Army base in the late 1980s during the civil war. In 2013 a young Somaliland Army recruit lost his lower leg after stepping on an AP mine in the area. German funding is enabling HALO to conduct manual mine clearance at Dararaweyne in order to ensure no further accidents will occur at this site in future.

Deputy Ambassador Resch was introduced to new members of HALO staff from South Central Somalia who are currently undergoing Non-Technical Survey training in Somaliland. Upon completion of their training these new recruits will be conducting the first comprehensive survey of minefields along the border between Ethiopia and South Central Somalia. Sixteen years of experience of mine clearance in Somaliland means HALO will be able to have an immediate positive impact in Somalia, as the security situation improves.

During the three day visit, HALO also facilitated visits for the Deputy Ambassador to other German-funded projects in the community Xaaxi, in the Togdheer Region of Somaliland, including a joint German Red Cross and Somaliland Red Crescent water access project, and a community solar project undertaken by CARE. The HALO Trust has cleared 23,384sqm in two minefields around Xaaxi with tasks in close proximity to these two projects.  

HALO Somaliland would like to thank the German people who, through the German Federal Foreign Office, have supported HALO’s vital mine clearance activities in Somaliland since 2009. This funding has been critical to HALO’s lifesaving involvement in Somaliland, and to securing a brighter future for some of world’s poorest people