Pro-Government of National Accord (GNA) sources announced on Saturday, July 4, that two demining personnel had been killed the previous day whilst clearing mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the al-Kabayliya area of Tripoli's southern Ain Zara suburb. The pair had reportedly been attempting to render an anti-personnel mine safe when it exploded.
The incident highlights the persistent threat from mines, IEDs, and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in areas of southern Tripoli. Demining operations are ongoing but the threat from these devices is likely to remain high in the area in the medium term.
Thousands of mines and ERW remain scattered across numerous areas of southern Tripoli following a year of heavy fighting during which the area was occupied by Libyan National Army (LNA) forces. LNA fighters have also been accused of intentionally planting mines and IEDs as they withdrew from Tripoli in May in order to hamper the advance of pro-GNA forces and delay the return of civilians to residential areas.
According to a United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) statement on Thursday, July 2, IEDs, mines, ERW, and booby traps have caused at least 130 casualties, including 55 demining personnel and 75 civilians, in southern Tripoli since the LNA withdrew from the region.
Those in Tripoli are advised to exercise a high level of caution if operating in southern areas of the capital and should never approach or touch any unfamiliar objects that may be ERW, but immediately report any such items to local authorities. Travelers in areas where ERW may remain a threat should avoid departing from defined safe paths and roads where possible.
The security environment in Libya remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas (with appropriate security protocols in place), other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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