LAGOS, NIGERIA -- U.S. Army and British military explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) experts concluded initial ordnance clearance efforts in Lagos 11 April.
Explosive ordnance experts marked Operation AVID RECOVERY's last day prior to starting their redeployment with the destruction of 179 pieces unexploded ordnance at a safe disposal site.
The U.S. response is the result of an agreement between the Presidents of the United States and Nigeria after the January 27 disaster. During the mission U.S. and UK experts worked in four areas of the Cantonment including the areas around the mosque, the Sergeant's mess hall, the bachelor and enlisted officers quarters, the armory and the Cantonment school. In total, the EOD task force destroyed 3,066 pieces of unexploded ordnance in place, 36,821 pieces at an off-site disposal area, and cleared about 3 tons of scrap metal.
Fifty-eight U.S. and two United Kingdom soldiers deployed to Nigeria at the end of February to help with clean-up efforts in the wake of the tragic explosions and fire in and around Ikeja Cantonment Area in Lagos. Government officials estimate hundreds died in the panic ensuing from the accident.
The departing leaders of the American task force recently met with U.S.-funded civilian contractors who will continue clearance efforts.
In addition to actual ordnance clearance efforts, task force members, working with non-governmental organizations, provided information to people living on the Cantonment and to children attending the Cantonment school about safety when encountering unexploded ordnance.
The majority of the soldiers deployed to conduct this operation, including all of the EOD experts, are assigned to units within the 21st Theater Support Command (TSC) from US Army Europe. The 21st TSC is based in Germany. The task force is commanded by Maj. Allen Cassell.
The explosive ordnance disposal experts are from the 720th Ordnance Company (EOD) and are commanded by Capt. Brian Winningham. The 720th is based in Mannheim, Germany.
In addition to the EOD experts, other soldiers with unique skills and equipment made up the task force. These additional personnel provided medical, communications and logistical support to the EOD experts.
This operation was carefully planned with close cooperation between the U.S. Army and Nigerian government and military representatives.