Tripoli, 4 October 2013:
A makeshift revolution museum in Misrata featuring weapons, ammunition and fighting equipment has been made safe after experts discovered that some of the items were still live, posing a potential danger to visitors.
The Misrata War Museum, also known as the Martyrs’ Museum, was started by a group of young volunteers who gathered munitions from the revolution. They arranged a display of these on the city’s Tripoli Street as a reminder of the heavy fighting the city endured in 2011.
The museum attracts some 1,500 visitors a week, mainly civilians with no experience of handling weapons and children who like to climb on tanks and cannons. No professional had checked the items on display for safety, international mine clearance NGO the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) said. “Something as seemingly innocuous as the build-up of heat could have caused an accidental explosion with fatal consequences,” it added.
A MAG Community Liaison Team alerted the head of the museum, Tahir Bashir, to the danger that munitions containing explosive remnants posed, and he asked them to help secure the museum’s artefacts.
After clearing 363 high-risk items, including a 400kg bomb, an SA3 missile and six S24 rockets, MAG staff have now made the museum much safer for visitors. The MAG Community Liaison Team also handed over ‘risk awareness’ materials which can be handed out to people bringing munitions for future display in the museum.
Bashir said that he was reassured that unstable items would no longer put museum visitors in danger. He thanked MAG for their work and said he had not expected such an immediate and efficient response. [/restrict]