Demining with Bare Hands: Benghazi

Mines planted during more than three years of war in Benghazi (2014-2017) are taking a high toll on under-equipped deminers and residents trying to return to districts where protracted battles took place. Military engineers striving to clear the explosives lack mine detectors and are working with basic tools and their bare hands. Their task is painstaking and extremely dangerous: 50 have been killed and 60 wounded, according to a military source.

The war in Benghazi erupted in 2014, when Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar began battling ISIS and other opponents, part of a broader conflict that spread in Libya after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi seven years ago.  Despite warnings from the military and indications of mined areas scribbled on walls, some long-displaced residents impatient to rebuild their lives have gone home, with deadly consequences.  [ISIS had used abandoned houses for shelter durng the war. Before they retreated they planted mines in the houses].

Excerpts from Mines still claim legs and lives in Libya’s Benghazi, months after war ceased, Reuters, Jan. 21, 2017

 

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