Libyan army launches mine awareness campaign at schools

An awareness campaign launched by the Libyan Army has kicked off at schools across Benghazi, to warn children of the dangers of mines and other remnants of war.

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The campaign encourages students to inform the authorities as soon as they find a suspicious objects that could be life-threatening.

Younes al-Aqoury, Bin Sinai’s school principal, said children are the most vulnerable.

“This program was launched as a result of a call we had with the military academy to lay out a plan to explain to students the dangers of mines in Benghazi and in places that were under IS control but have been freed. We want to explain the situation to people and children especially because they’re the main victims of mines”, al-Aqoury said.

Years of fighting in Benghazi has left many families displaced. Many have lost loved ones to mines that were left behind in areas once controlled by Islamic State.

Soldiers clear mines with their bare hands in Libya’s #Benghazi 苏州美甲培训学校,长沙SPA,/Yv2Pn7W7kC via @Observers #Libya pic.twitter苏州美甲培训学校按摩论坛,/pcZy5h6D77

— FRANCE 24 (@FRANCE24) October 17, 2016

Mohamed Bokhzam, a member of the army’s moral guidance unit, said family trips during the spring make it more likely for accidents to occur.

“Today we’re at one of the schools of Benghazi, Ibn Sinai School, and we’ve started, as the moral guidance unit, with the military academy members, explaining to students to warn them of the dangers of mines and bombs and war remains, especially because we’re approaching spring and we know in the spring, there are family trips in these areas”, said Bokhzam.

According to the United Nations, there has been a significant increase in improvised explosive device (IED) incidents in 2016, particularly in areas/cities occupied by ISIS and this trend looks set to continue.

Salem Aqnebar, a 13-year-old student, said: “I learned that when I find a mine, I shouldn’t touch it. I should tell my father and brother, so that they can contact the special forces and criminal investigators who can come and dismantle it. And we shouldn’t come close to anything we find on the ground, remains of airstrikes or tanks or machine-guns.”

The Libyan Army is planning to visit as many schools as possible across Benghazi, passing on their knowledge of mines so that children are aware and can avoid injury to themselves and others.

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