History of Minelaying

The civil war between the FRELIMO government and RENAMO opposition resulted in mines being laid by both sides.

The government used anti-personnel mines to defend provincial and district towns, airstrips, key bridges, power supplies, railways and military posts - while RENAMO laid anti-vehicle mines to close the roads connecting towns and markets. Extensive minefields were laid around the Cahora Bassa Dam by Portuguese forces and along the Mozambique – Zimbabwe border by Rhodesian forces.

The Problem

In the northern half of Mozambique all known minefields have been cleared. In 2007, HALO concluded 14 years of mineclearance (as the sole operator for the majority of that time) in the northern half of Mozambique having cleared 552 minefields and over 100,000 mines. As an exit strategy, and to confirm that the local population knew of no remaining mines problem, a mine free district survey was undertaken over a two year period across 6,395 communities with over 400,000 people interviewed.

In 2007, HALO was asked to conduct a Baseline Assessment to quantify the remaining mines problem in the central and southern half of Mozambique. This was completed in October 2007. The findings showed 487 confirmed minefields remained with extensive minefields located in the area of the Cahora Bassa Dam and on the border with Zimbabwe. The extent of the remaining mines problem was despite expenditure on mineclearance in the central and southern half of Mozambique prior to 2007 having considerably exceeded that in the northern half of Mozambique. Further survey work by HALO since 2007 has taken the total to over 520 minefields.

In 2009, HALO conducted a more detailed survey of the border minefields from Mozambique to assist in determining which areas lay solely within Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, and which straddled the border.

The scale and impact of the remaining mines problem remains significant. A measure of the seriousness of the problem is that since the start of clearance in the central and southern half of Mozambique in late 2007, HALO has found and destroyed over 34,000 landmines. In 2013, HALO was clearing an average of over 700 mines per month and that number is set to increase in 2014. Mines still represent a major development and human security problem and there remains a need for a professional and safe solution to remove them.

Landmines hamper development at the micro and macro level, cause accidents and death, and inhibit the use of land for agriculture, grazing, construction, and safe access, whilst also causing a blockage to key national infrastructure and cross-border movement.

The Solution

To clear the remaining minefields requires a combination of manual deminers and mechanical assets. HALO will be working on those minefields containing the highest mine numbers and representing some of the most technically challenging that remain for clearance, in some of the most remote areas.

HALO estimates that to reach the same state as the north HALO will need to support and expand its existing capacity of 24 manual demining teams and 5 mechanical teams within its area of operations in Maputo, Manica and Tete provinces. HALO Mozambique is set to do this in 2014.

As Mozambique nears completion, the remaining problem is becoming increasingly clear as the number of minefields for clearance continues to fall. There are however a number of factors that will challenge Mozambique’s wish to complete by 31st December 2014.

HALO Mozambique is generously supported by the following donors: the US Department of State Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM/WRA), and the Governments of the UK (DFID), the Netherlands, Ireland, Norway (through UNDP) and Sweden (through UNDP), and the Reece Foundation.

Requirement for Continued Clearance

HALO is working towards the goal of completing clearance of all remaining minefields in Mozambique. The end is within sight if support can be maintained.  HALO, having delivered 20 years of mineclearance thanks to donor support, is playing a significant part in ending the blight caused by landmines in Mozambique.

Program management - Senior staff

Olly Hyde-Smith

HALO Mozambique Program Manager

Olly joined HALO in 2011. After training in Cambodia and Afghanistan he worked in Somaliland as Operations Officer for a year and a half. He joined the HALO Mozambique Program in November 2012 to help establish a new headquarters in Chimoio.  Olly became the Location Manager there in July 2013 and was promoted to Program Manager in July 2014. MA (Hons) Politics. 

Profeta Cardoso

HALO Mozambique Operations Officer

Profeta began working for HALO as a Team Leader in August 1994 in Zambezia in Northern Mozambique.  Over the next 9 years, Profeta rose to become National Operations Officer and helped oversee the completion of HALO’s clearance in Northern Mozambique. During this period, Profeta was also deployed to Angola, Somaliland and Eritrea to train HALO staff. After a break from HALO, Profeta re-joined in 2011, undertook explosive ordnance refresher training in Afghanistan, and has now resumed his former position as Operations Officer, overseeing HALO’s clearance activities in Maputo, Manica and Tete provinces.  Before working for HALO Profeta was an Officer in the Mozambican military and trained at Sandhurst.

Albertino Alfredo Jimo

HALO Mozambique Logistics Officer

Jim was HALO Mozambique’s first employee, joining in 1993. He has been based in Maputo and represented HALO in the capital when the program was located in the North of the country. Before the program relocated, the Maputo office was based at his home for over ten years. Jim is married with six children.

Geraldo Pedro Jamal

HALO Mozambique Survey Officer

Geraldo first joined HALO in 1997 as a minefield supervisor in Niassa province, before being promoted to a survey role in 1999. In 2003 he moved to Nampula as a storeman and then became the location accountant. He returned to operations in 2007 as a survey supervisor for the Baseline Assessment and took on overall responsibility for survey in 2009. Geraldo has relocated with his wife and two children to Maputo, and is studying law at night school.

Anselmo João Vasco

HALO Mozambique Fleet Manager

Anselmo joined HALO in 1997 to manage the program’s fleet of Land Rovers, trucks and plant machinery. Since then he has been responsible for the training of many mechanics and the maintenance of the HALO Mozambique fleet. He is originally from Zambizia and is married with eight children.