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UN raises alarm about explosive ordnance in Libya

April 4, 2023 at 2:41 pm

A view of the city of Sirte, which is under control of Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar’s forces, in Libya on November 04, 2021 [Abdullah Marei – Anadolu Agency]

More than 15 million square meters are still contaminated with explosive ordnances across war-torn Libya, the United Nations said on Tuesday, Anadolu News Agency reports.

“The indiscriminate use of weapons in civilian areas during the recent conflicts means even urban areas are littered with explosive remnants of war,” the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said in a statement.

“These remnants of conflict obstruct safe access to education, healthcare and development, and continue to injure or kill long after the fighting has ceased, posing a daily threat to life and livelihoods.”

In 2022, at least 19 people, including 14 children, were killed by explosive remnants of war in Libya.

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“Mine action efforts are an essential component of Libya’s journey to peace and stability, coupled with reforms in the security sector to control explosive ordnance contamination and the proliferation of weapons,” said Abdoulaye Bathily, UN Special Envoy for Libya.

“The threat posed to Libyan citizens undermines stability and the right to a life without fear,” he added.

More than 27,400 explosive ordnances were removed last year in the Libyan cities of Tripoli, Misrata, Benghazi and Sirte.

“We need to scale-up efforts to enable Libya towards a safer future without explosive hazards,” UNSMIL said.

Oil-rich Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011, when long time ruler, Muammar Gaddafi, was ousted after four decades in power.

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