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Explosion rocks Libyan airbase

Another Libyan ammunition depot blew-up Monday (December 9th).

Some 50 criminals were behind the explosion at the tank ammunition storage site at the Brak al-Shatie airbase, 650 kilometres south of Tripoli, a Sebha security source said.

Thieves hoping to steal copper from destroyed ammunition reportedly poured gasoline on the arms depot in the morning. Overheating in the afternoon caused rockets and shells to ignite.

“Civil safety and fire trucks were unable to control the fire until now because of the volatility of explosive ordnance in the area surrounding the base,” Major Abdul Wahab Urabi told LANA.

“Brak hospital received 10 dismembered charred bodies that are in the process of being identified,” said Dr Hamid al-Baghdadi, a member of the General National Congress for al-Shatie area.

A number of people were missing, al-Baghdadi added.

Four base guards were injured, two of them seriously. They were transferred to Tripoli for treatment.

The attack is the second of its type targeting the same bunker in less than two weeks.

Thirty people died in a blast at the airbase on November 28th. The explosion occurred when a group attempted to steal copper from the site. Victims of the explosion included African migrants.

Weapon theft has become commonplace. Some thieves also try to sell looted ammunition, mainly tank shells.

Brigadier Mohamad Dhahbi explained that ammunition depots were constantly subject to theft in the south of Libya. The most recent theft occurred last week.

Some 17 tank ammunition stores were in dangerous and unstable condition, prompting the formation of a technical committee to organise the destruction of the remaining ammunition, Libya Herald quoted base commander Mohamed Matooq as saying.

That was essential for the safety of local people, Matooq added.

“We need army and police forces,” Brak city resident Yusuf Ahmed Al Akari told Magharebia.

Rabia Ali, a high school teacher from the city of Sabha said, “The south suffers from many violations and there is no interest from the government.” She attributed the blasts to the absence of security and military forces.

For his part, Murzuq city professor Rashad Elewa said, “Greed is the cause of the explosions in the depots of Brak Al-Shatti.”

“Copper traders are the reason,” he added.

Article by Essam Mohamed, Magharebia.

This article was originally published here.

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