HALO assessment mission to Ivory Coast

In May 2011, The HALO Trust was contracted by the United Nations Mine Action Service to conduct a one month Emergency Explosive Remnants of War survey of Ivory Coast.

This intervention followed the recent political crisis and came amid rumours of the use of landmines in the subsequent fighting.  

The HALO assessment mission deployed survey teams across the entire length of the Zone of Confidence and visited all towns and villages where fighting was reported to have taken place, as well as those locations where the use of landmines was suspected.

Through the course of the assessment mission it became clear that there had been very little genuine fighting in the recent war up until the final conflicts in Abidjan. The mission also noted that there was no evidence of the use of landmines and that the legacy of UXO, outside of Abidjan, was minimal.

However across the country much damage had been inflicted on government buildings and many weapons and ammunition stores were insecure. Furthermore many of the victorious military personnel had little understanding of the ammunition that they were now responsible for, or indeed best practices for the storage, registration and transfer of their weapons.

Therefore HALO has agreed with the United Nations to stay on in Ivory Coast in order to establish safe and secure storage for the most exposed stocks of ammunition, and to undertake model refurbishments of some government ammunition and weapons stores and armoury management training to demonstrate best practices to the Ivorians.

HALO will remain in Ivory Coast until September 2011 and will then decide on continued engagement based on the volume of outstanding work and the wishes of the donor community and the host government.