The Unowned Bombs: Beirut blast

In the aftermath of the Beirut blast which reportedly killed and injured thousands and brought the city to a standstill, there is one crucial question: who owned the explosives that sent shockwaves and dismantled the structure and functioning of a city and left a hole both literally and figuratively in the heart of Lebanon’s capital.

What we know

However we have the privilege of knowing via the government, is that the Ammonium Nitrate, a chemical used in fertilizers and well, bombs came aboard a Russian ship with a Moldovan flag and were abandoned after being denied the right of passage, they were then stored in a port container overlooking the city. In a series of emails, the Director of the Lebanese Customs tried to get official attention to solve the problem of the explosives to no avail. Though there are several ownership documents, each varying in asserting its claims till now after several disputed ownership papers, a conclusive answer cannot be given, according to Reuters. In an increasingly convoluted case, mentions of a Panama Law Firm, Russian owners either are crucial clues or red herrings designed to close the case with a surreptitious “lack of evidence” by a special government-judiciary team investigating the matter.

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The questions that remain unanswered, not limited to the millions of claims of good old bureaucratic delay, is who paid for the ammonium nitrate and did they ever seek to reclaim the cargo when it was impounded by officials, what is the source of the ship and why was it impounded.

Read Also: Malaysia might have detected a new strain of COVID-19 that is at least 10 times deadlier

Unused Soviet era explosives in Libya

The problem of explosives

The explosion sheds light on the problem of unused explosives lying to waste in several countries. Thousands of Soviet-era unexploded missiles are stored precariously in various countries, not to mention the hundreds of other unaccounted explosives laying siege to the safety of a country. They have always been treated as a problem to be dealt with when the effects show up despite a country’s prevention policies, but when the effect comes at lives and a destroyed capital, it may be the final line in the mistreatment of the issue.

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