Sri Lanka celebrates the life of late deminer Dominique Morin (Momo).

Late Mr. Dominique Morin (Momo)

by Vidya Abhayagunawardena

(May 24, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The late Mr. Dominique Morin (Momo), a French national (age 54) died in an accidental mine blast in 2010 May 10th in Kakayankulam after been admitted to the Vavuniya General Hospital. At the time of Momo’s demise, he was attached to the Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) in Sri Lanka as a Senior Technical Advisor. FSD is Switzerland based international non-governmental organization involved in mine clearance in the North of Sri Lanka. Momo was the very first international deminer casualty in Sri Lanka.

The first year life celebration anniversary of the late Momo was held on 10th May 2011 in Kakayankulam West of Mannar District where the tragic incident happened. At the ceremony, the placement of a monument for the late Momo was took place under the patronage of a distinguished gathering, including, the District Secretary/Government Agent (GA) Mannar Mr. Nagalingam Vethanayahan, 61 Division General Officer Commanding Brigadier Ajith Kariyakarawana, Sri Lanka Police Department, UNDP Mine Action Programme, UNICEF, and other de-mining agencies including HALO Trust, MAG, DDG, Sarvastra, Horizen, MMIPE, and Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines. There were more than six hundred FSD de-miners with its staff and the area people of those who are recently resettled gathered at the ceremony.

Late Momo’s military career lasted for 28 years as a Navy Seal of French Navy. He specialized in the underwater mines clearance, counter-terrorism and counter-pirate activities. After his military career, Momo joined FSD and went on to humanitarian demining sector, working in a variety of countries, such as DRC, The Congo, Lebanon, Albania, Iraq, Sudan, Loa, Guinea Bissau, Tajikistan and Sri Lanka. He also worked for the MAG and Handicap International (France) over the past decade.

A minute silent at the Momo’s monument

At the ceremony Mr. Nigel A. Robinson, Country Programme Manager of FSD said “Every day people like Momo dedicated their lives and their extraordinary skills towards helping people who cannot help themselves-the world’s poor and disenfranchised who by lack of choice are forced to live their lives surrounded by landmines in villages and communities all around the world. It is the work of people like Momo and many of the people here today that transforms these peoples’ lives, never seeking recognition or reward but always striving to achieve extraordinary things in the most difficult of circumstances. For those of you here that worked with Momo, you will remember a kind and strong man who had a heart of gold and who genuinely cared for the members in his team. Perhaps a good indication about the sort of man Momo was is that every time he left a country to move on to the next challenge, he gave away all of his possessions to the local people. In addition, his wife ‘Murielle’ would also send personal effects from France for him to distribute to those most in need. Momo was a good man”.

 Distinguish gathering at the event

Mr. Nigel further said that “As we remember the events of one year ago and dedicate this memorial to our extraordinary friend, it is to the future that we must look. Momo did not give his life in vain; he gave it, as it says on the memorial stone, so that the people of Sri Lanka can live safe and peaceful lives. For now is the moment for the people of this country - after many decades of the conflict the opportunity for peace is with us and with hard work and soft hearts, Sri Lanka will find its way to a brighter future. Let Momo’s life be an inspiration to us all of what can be achieved by those dedicated enough to make extraordinarily things happen”.

Sri Lanka works toward becoming a mine-free nation and the late Momo will be an inspiration in this endeavor to all of us and also those who supports a mine free world.

Writer is a researcher in socioeconomic development and a campaigner for “Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines”. He can be reach at

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