Guinea Bissau Project Update
Cleared Ground Demining ran an Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) / UXO Removal project in Guinea Bissau, a project made possible thanks to much appreciated funding provided by the Norwegian Government, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Scope of Project
The projects overall aim was to provide Guinea Bissau with two Battle Area Clearance (BAC) Teams and the technical expertise to conduct Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) removal and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD).
Achievements to Date
Two Cleared Ground International Technical Advisors successfully trained and deployed two BAC Teams, totalling 66 personnel, two Survey Teams, consisting of 8 personnel, and 1 Quality Assurance Team of 3 personnel. All personnel were deployed at the Paiol de Bra clearance site, located within the capital city of Bissau. The BAC Teams were deployed for 3 months at Paiol de Bra and successfully located a total of 17,185 items of ERW, of which 384 items were successfully destroyed by explosive demolition at a Central Demolition Site (CDS) some 48km east of the capital city to ensure the safety of the local population in Bissau.
Paiol de Bra Clearance Site (PDB)
PDB was a former ammunition storage facility, which formed part of the front line of hostilities during the civil war of 1998/9. The site was highly contaminated with ERW and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), the items range in complexity and include the following:
- Blast and fragmentation hand grenades
- Cluster Munitions
- Mortars up to 120mm
- Projectiles up to 130mm - High Explosive/ Fragmentation
- Rockets up to 240mm - High Explosive/ Fragmentation
- Aircraft bombs ranging from 50kg to 500kg and including Soviet Chemical bombs
- Small Arms ammunition and abandoned light weapons
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training
Cleared Ground Technical Advisors successfully completed a 6 week course of instruction for 11 Guinean personnel to train them to IMAS Level 3 standard of Explosive Ordnance Disposal. These qualified personnel went on to form the core of 4 mobile clearance / survey teams that operated independently within Guinea Bissau, enabling the National Mine Action Authority (CAAMI) to conduct rapid clearance of the highly contaminated sites outside of the capital city. This ensured the release of urgently needed land for residential and agricultural development.
Cluster Munition Destruction
Cleared Ground Technical Advisors successfully formulated a process by which Soviet Cluster Munitions, found at the Paiol de Bra clearance site, could be rendered safe to move for bulk demolitions. The process enabled greater numbers of cluster munitions to be destroyed in a single demolition, reducing the strain on limited explosive stores resources and is more cost efficient to the overall program.
Small Arms and Light Weapons Removal
Cleared Ground Demining was involved in the West Africa Small Arms and Light Weapons removal program, by providing demolition / disposal expertise to the collection program. This enables collected items to be safely destroyed and prevents the possibility of the items falling back into unsafe hands, this not only enhances the security of communities but also encourages greater peaceful dialogue rather than armed conflict to resolve disputes.