DPKO | MINUSMA | UNMAS
“Adequate training and proper equipment saves lives,” explained Paul Heslop, the Chief of Programmes at the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS). This is particularly true in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
Six armoured plated vehicles (MPVs) equipped with mechanical bomb arms arrived in Mali as part of a special order that UNMAS made through MINUSMA. They were immediately deployed to Gao and Kidal to be used by the Cambodian and the Nepalese specialized Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) companies serving in these locations.
Following an increase in asymmetric attacks on MINUSMA personnel, which have killed 21 UN peacekeepers, the EOD companies were issued with new clearance equipment to reinforce security. The new equipment allows the EOD teams to better mitigate the explosive threat, in particular Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) used by armed groups. The MPV’s were airlifted from Dubai by an ANTONOV 124 and arrived on 23 September.
Each EOD company is composed of four explosives teams and one road clearance platoon, all equipped with specialized equipment. Besides the Mine Protected Vehicles they also have ambulances. The bomb arms on the newly arrived MPV will allow the teams to remotely investigate suspected IED’s from inside a vehicle, protected from blast and fragmentation.
The MINUSMA EOD companies were trained, equipped and are currently being mentored by UNMAS. “I am confident that with appropriate equipment and knowledge they will help improve the safety of MINUSMA personnel and property and better protect the Malian population”, stated Charles Frisby, UNMAS Mali Programme Manager.