This week another child tragically lost his life when he found and played with a grenade that was left behind by the warring parties in the conflict. His two brothers, standing near him, were severely injured.
UNICEF and UNMAS are deeply concerned by the continued loss of civilian lives, especially children, from explosive remnants of war and urge all Libyans to be aware of the risks.
The three brothers were grazing their sheep in the suburbs of Tajoura, northwestern Libya, when they found the grenade. The youngest, aged six, tried to collect it, causing an explosion and his tragic death. His two brothers, nine and 12, were severely injured, with one boy losing his hand.
“No matter where they are used, explosive ordnance endangers civilians for many decades to come and, in particular children,” said Michele Servadei, Unicef Representative for Libya. “We call upon all armed actors to stop the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and to put in place measures to protect civilians, in particular children”.
“At least 39 people have been killed or injured this year in incidents related to explosive remnants of war,” said Justin Smith, Chief of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya’s (UNSMIL) Mine Action Programme. “Although this is a decrease compared to the 65 casualties in 2021, it is still too many. The risk to life of unexploded ordnance is real, and the challenge of clearing Libyan territory and raising awareness on the dangers remains.”
UNICEF and UNMAS are working with Libyan mine action partners to provide explosive ordnance risk education to people to raise awareness on the dangers and risks of mines and unexploded ordnance.
UNICEF and UNMAS also call on the government of Libya and the donor community to invest more resources to scale-up mine action activities. According to the Humanitarian Response Plan, currently 505,486 people are at risk of mines, UXOs and ERWs.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).