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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 002-98
January 06, 1998

DOD DEPLOYS SOLDIERS WITH NEW VEHICLE TO TRAIN NAMIBIAN DEMINING TEAMS

Four soldiers from the Army's 3rd Special Forces Group headquartered at Ft. Bragg, N.C., are scheduled to arrive in Namibia on Jan. 8, 1998, with a demining berm processor vehicle. The soldiers will train Namibian demining teams on the use of this new equipment.

This is a part of the United States' continuing humanitarian demining program designed to assist host countries in relieving human suffering by developing an indigenous demining capability. The DoD has significantly expanded its support to the government's humanitarian demining program by developing new mine-detection and clearing technology and sharing this technology with the international community.

The berm processor, recently developed by the Army's Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, Ft. Belvoir, Va., and now being deployed to Namibia, gives significant capability to eliminate mine-infested mounds resulting from mine clearing operations. This device mechanically scoops up dirt, shakes out the mines from the dirt, leaving them exposed on the ground for deminers to safely destroy.

The 3rd SFG soldiers will use a "train the trainer" approach to teach Namibians on the safe use of the vehicle. Since 1995, U.S. personnel have been training Namibian personnel in developing a national demining program which includes education, identifying priorities and needs, and training in mine detection and clearance. The U.S. remains committed to this important effort.

Since 1993, the U.S. Government has spent over $153 million to train foreign deminers and provide equipment in more than 15 landmine-plagued countries, to include Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda, Mozambique and Namibia. The death rate in Cambodia alone has dropped by 50 percent in provinces where the U.S. program has been most active. In Mozambique 20,000 square kilometers of land and over 6,000 kilometers of roads have been cleared. The casualty rate in Ethiopia is down by over 50 percent. In Namibia, the casualty rate is down by 90 percent, and the country could be mine-free in 1999.

More information on this program can be accessed through the at http://www.nvl.army.mil/technology/index.php. Other web sites with information are: European Command[Link no longer available] (EUCOM) at http://www.eucom.mil/Directorates/ECPA/Operations/demining/demining.htm and the DoD sponsored James Madison University Humanitarian Demining Information Center homepage at http://www.hdic.jmu.edu/.

Photo: Berm Processing Assembly ready for deployment to Namibia minefields at http://www.defenselink.mil/photos/Jan1998/971001-A-3152M-014.html