Sirte landmine kills two but normalisation process continues apace


By Jamie Prentis.

Tunis, 6 April 2017:

Two men in Sirte are reported to have been killed by a landmine planted next to a major water storage tank. They are understood to have worked for the water company in the town.

The landmine is assumed to have been planted by the so-called Islamic State before it was forced out of the town. Its forces littered Sirte with mines. These and other unexploded ordinance remain a major problem.

Meanwhile, despite the dangers, the rebuilding of Sirte continues as former residents move back home. Sirte University is due to reopen this month and today the EU pledged to continue supporting the rebuilding of the institution.

The education faculty is undergoing extensive renovation according to a senior academic. Even basics such as plumbing and electricity are having to be substantially repaired following the occupation, and these and painting both administrative and teaching buildings are underway. The construction company undertaking the work says it plans to finish by the end of the month. The cost is put LD 400,000.

Schools in the town already restarted classes last month after an extensive clean-up operation.

Yesterday, health officials in Sirte announced plans for a measles immunisation campaign in the town starting on 22 April. The director of health services in Sirte, Khalifa Abdelfateh, explained that it was part of a national operation to prevent the spread of the disease.

The World Health Organisation and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent organisation were just two international bodies supporting the town’s healthcare revitalisation, he added. But much more needed to be done in the area as more residents returned, he explained.

In related news, UN envoy Martin Kobler spoke to Sirte mayor Mohamed Madani, released on Wednesday having been held by kidnappers for two month, expressed his relief at his release. Kobler thanked all involved in the mayor’s safe return.

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