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Libya: destroying unexploded devices in Ajdabiya

08-06-2011 News Release 11/129

Benghazi/Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in a joint operation with the Mines Advisory Group, today started destroying hundreds of unexploded devices in the eastern Libyan city of Ajdabiya. ICRC specialists began clearance activities in the city in early May, removing unexploded ordnance from houses, schools and other structures to safe areas and marking objects that could not be moved.

"This is the first time we have destroyed such devices in Libya, and the first time anywhere that we have done so while military operations are still under way," said Ivo Palm, an ICRC explosive ordnance disposal expert participating in the operation. "The risks that such objects pose for the civilian population are high, and we had to take immediate action. We will continue clearing the most dangerous areas, like Ajdabiya and Misrata, of unexploded munitions. We are very happy to see that families in Ajdabiya returned safely to their houses after the city had almost emptied."

In addition to the clearance activities, the ICRC is conducting a campaign together with volunteers of the Libyan Red Crescent to raise awareness among displaced people – especially children – that unexploded munitions put their lives at risk.

For further information, please contact:
Dibeh Fakhr, ICRC Benghazi, tel: +218 92 330 4560 or +870 772 390 124
Christian Cardon, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 730 24 26 or +41 79 251 93 02