Gefahr durch Waffen und Explosivkörper in Libyen

Danish Church Aid räumt Minen und Blindgänger und warnt vor den Gefahren. (in Englisch)

Räumung von Minen und Blindgängern in Misrata (c) Paul Jeffrey/ACT



DanChurchAid's team in Misrata, Libya, says there is a mood of "joy and jubilation" after Free Libya forces have taken over the city. But there are also worries about the use of weapons in the celebration as well as dangerous remnants from the war still scattered around the city, as DCA's mine action work clearly proves.

By Tove Gerhardsen

On August 21st the streets were full of people, not unusual for Ramadan, but there was much cheering and chanting," says Andy Mattingley, programme manager of DCA's mine action programme in Misrata, the third-largest city in Libya, located on the north-western coast of Libya. The celebration was sparked by the believed capture of Saif Gaddafi in Tripoli (the later appeared and talked to the BBC) after "huge pushes on the southern and western front lines by the Free Libya forces," says Mattingley.

Security important

Children and youth are curious and easily get too close to dangerous ammunition. But despite the joy and celebration of freedom, Misrata still has its challenges. Misrata is probably the most contaminated town in Libya when it comes to unexploded ordnance and explosive remnants of war, says Mattingley. This could be parts of weapons, land mines and other explosives that are hidden on the ground and that may explode if somebody walks on it.

In the Freedom Square in the centre of the town, DCA's team found two MAT 120 sub-munitions, or cluster bombs. The square is populated by women and children in the evenings, celebrating, says Mattingley.There are also worries about the security - or lack of - during the celebration, as there was, "an awful amount of celebratory gunfire" on the night of 21 August, says Mattingley. Normally this is restricted to AK47 rounds, but last night when the news of the believed capture of Saif broke, anti-aircraft guns were being shot and this morning the area of Freedom Square was awash with brass shell casings.

What we do

DCA's mine action team consists of five international technical staff who support locally-trained teams in clearing an area in the centre of Misrata for land mines and old weapons. Previously DCA has cleared the New University Hospital, which was under construction when the conflict started.

Right now DCA's work has been brought to a hold, because the security situation is very unstable. Previously, DCA has taken part in a Humanitarian Assessment Mission as there was a push into Misrata's neighbouring city to the west, Zlitan, resulting in an internally displaced people issue. As it was estimated that some 550 families were in or on their way to Dafniya from Zlitan at the time, DCA helped clear two schools and an area adjacent to the International Medical Corp's field hospital, which DCA had cleared the week before. Families were reported to be in this area already, and it was therefore necessary to safeguard them from any type of explosives.-Two technical advisors supported by an international paramedic visited all three sites and declared them safe, says Mattingley.

DCA's mine action team has been working in Libya since May, and when the security situation is stable again the effort to rid the country of dangerous remnants of war will be intensified.

Source: Danish Church Aid

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