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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2002 > April
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 23, 2002


Demining Assistance to Sudan

The State Department is deploying a contract-administered Quick Reaction Demining Force to Sudan to conduct mine clearance operations in the Nuba Mountains. The advance party departed April 19. The main deployment, 2 squads of 10 persons each, four mine detection dogs, and additional support personnel, are expected to arrive in approximately two weeks. Colonel Thomas Seal, USMC, Deputy Director of the Department's Office of Humanitarian Demining Programs, is accompanying the Advance Party to assist with deployment plans for the Quick Reaction Demining Force.

The Government of Sudan estimates that between 1989 and 2001, 1,135 persons became mine victims in the Nuba Mountains, while "Save the Children, USA" believes that an additional 25 mine related incidents have occurred in these mountains between December 2000 and February 2002.

The Quick Reaction Demining Force's mine clearance operations will lessen the likelihood of additional casualties, as refugees and internally displaced persons begin relocation into areas where mines are known to exist and into other areas suspected of being mined. In doing so, the mine clearance operations will contribute to the success of the first phase of the recently concluded cease-fire between the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army and the operations of the internationally-led Joint Military Commission, in which the United States plays a leading role.

The U.S. Department of State established the Quick Reaction Demining Force in 2001 as a result of lessons learned from the immediate post-conflict situation in Kosovo, where similar threats to returning refugees existed. Established to respond to emergency situations quickly and efficiently, Quick Reaction Demining Force teams will help facilitate the safe return and resettlement of both refugees and internally displaced persons. The RONCO Consulting Corporation, a Washington, D.C.-based commercial demining firm will implement the Quick Reaction Demining Force's mission in Sudan.

The Quick Reaction Demining Force is now fully committed to mine action efforts -- half in the Sudan and half in Sri Lanka. When not deployed, the Quick Reaction Demining Force is located in Mozambique, where it conducts mine clearance operations in support of Mozambique's National Demining Office.


Released on April 23, 2002

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