LCC Benghazi Factories – Current Status

Background

The Libyan Cement Company (LCC) has two factories in Benghazi, located in the district of Hawari. These two factories sit beside each other and share a common quarry.

In April 2014, both of these factories were over-run by fighting after Operation Dignity was launched in Benghazi. The Management of LCC then closed the factories for the safety of the employees. Until recently, the district of Hawari remained under the control of strong Islamic militias and at times was also controlled by troops of the Islamic State.

Early in 2016, the army launched new attacks to free Benghazi. During these operations the Cement Factories in Hawari were occupied by suspected Islamic State troops. In March 2016, the LNAA air force bombed both factories on two occasions. The plants also came under heavy artillery fire at the same time.

In April, the factories were liberated and came under the control of the army.

Current Position

The Management entered into discussions with the army and jointly agreed to a 2-step plan to bring the factories back under the control of the Libyan Cement Company.

Step-1

Secure the main perimeter, repair the surrounding wall, and establish guards to prevent unauthorized access.

Step-2

Ensure the premises are safe. The first reports from the army indicate that the factory contains a large amount of unexploded munitions, mines and booby traps. In fact, 5 army personnel were killed by a booby trap when first entering the premises.

What has been done so far?

  1. Senior Management has met with the Commander of the LNAA General ElHassi and with the Benghazi Military Commander Colonel Salem Elabdali. They promised their support for securing LCC.
  2. The Army has assigned a reserve team to provide security for the perimeter.
  3. Lt Col Ismai ESaiti and his team of EOD (Explosive Ordinances Disposal) specialists have been assigned to commence removing explosive devices. They started clearing the main wall around the perimeter and were followed by a team of contractors who then repaired the wall. One of the contractors strayed into an area that had not yet been cleared and was killed by a booby trap. This unfortunate incident demonstrates exactly how dangerous the area is.
  4. Clearing of the wall and repairs has been completed.
  5. So Step-1 is mostly complete.
  6. The EOD team is now working inside the factory itself. The area is still very dangerous and Lt Col ElSaiti has published a warning for all unauthorized personnel to stay away. The team expects that it will take another 2 – 3 months to finish the job.
  7. As the area is cleared LCC will send in teams to assess the damage. GM Operations Mr Thomas Hochmann and the Plant Managers are getting in touch with the needed Supervisors and Technicians required for this work, so they can be ready to go as soon as we are give the “all clear”.
  8. Step-2 is well under way and Management is depending on the progress of the EOD Team.

14/06/2016

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