Go to main content

A day demining with our team in Casamance, Senegal

Explosive weapons

The sun has just come up. After the team has loaded up the equipment, Aziz, Handicap International's Head of Demining Operations, motivates the troops and reminds them of the day's objective: demining the village of Diagnon, located around fifty kilometres out of Ziguinchor. 

© J-J. Bernard / Handicap International

Arriving on site at 8 am, Aziz and Charles, his right-hand man, assess the site: the configuration of the zone to be cleared of mines and the surrounding area, any anticipated difficulties, the choice of operating procedure, etc.

 

At the same time the deminers unload and inspect the equipment.

 

Just like every morning, Charles holds an operational briefing and reminds everyone of the safety instructions.

 

Each deminer takes their equipment and gets ready.

 

Everyone is very focused before swinging into action.

 

It is 9 am. The deminers are ready to get started.

 

Before any intervention, the vegetation needs to be cleared from the zones to be demined.

 

Jonathan, the dog handler, spends time with his two mine detection dogs. He checks that they are in good condition before taking them out into the zone to be demined.

 

Today, Katja is going to work with her handler in 45 minute phases with breaks in-between. 

 

In situations where the dogs cannot work, the deminer uses a metal detector. They sometimes wear extremely light air cushion soles for improved safety.

 

Aziz, the Head of Demining Operations, goes out to greet the village authorities. It is important to maintain good relations with them and keep them informed about Handicap International's operations.

 

It is 3 pm and the team needs to get back before the army checkpoints are set up for the night in this unstable region. They head home with the satisfaction of a job well done - the team can be extremely proud of themselves!


All photos © J-J. Bernard / Handicap International

Where we work

Read more

Blog: More proof that a small group of campaigners can change the world
© ISNA Agency / HI
Explosive weapons Rights

Blog: More proof that a small group of campaigners can change the world

Aleema Shivji, Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion UK, explains how recent events bring us one step closer to protecting civilians caught in armed conflict.

Weapons clearance drones
© HI
Explosive weapons

Weapons clearance drones

Since last January, HI and its partner Mobility Robotics have been trialing the use of drones to support weapons clearance experts in Faya-Largeau, northern Chad.

Weapons clearance platform in northern Chad
© HI
Explosive weapons

Weapons clearance platform in northern Chad

Alongside 50 weapons clearance experts working in Chad, HI uses a remote-controlled platform, a German-made GCS 200, to clear large areas in record time.