STA, 12 January 2022 - An unexploded Second World War bomb has been found at a construction site in Maribor. The site has been cordoned off as a precaution and a bomb disposal team will neutralise and remove the device, which weighs 250 kilos, on Sunday.
The explosive ordnance disposal team has been dispatched to the site after police received a report about the unexploded bomb on Tuesday afternoon and cordoned off the area. The team decided it will defuse and remove the bomb on Sunday, early in the afternoon.
All residents will be evacuated from a 300-metre zone around the site, said Maribor Deputy Mayor Samo Peter Medved, urging people to adhere strictly to the rules and instructions.
In addition to evacuating locals in the 300-metre zone, movement will be restricted in a 600-metre zone around the site. People will be allowed to stay in their homes in this area, but they will be forbidden to move outside, either on foot or otherwise.
The Maribor Police Department has asked the media to stay away from the scene for their own safety and not to interfere with the work of the experts on the site.
"We will inform you when the bomb has been removed and, if necessary, we will keep the public informed of any measures taken in connection with the removal of the bomb," it said.
Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city, was one of the most bombed cities in the lands of the former Yugoslavia during the Second World War.
The most high-profile find in recent years was the discovery of two unexploded bombs near the city's largest shopping centre and the UKC Maribor medical centre in October 2019, when their removal also prompted the evacuation of people from the surrounding area.
This time around, the device has been found in the Tezno borough in the south-eastern part of Maribor, and the removal plan is the same as what unfolded in 2019.
Darko Zonič, the head of the disposal team who was also in charge of the bomb removal in November 2019, said that in the worst-case scenario the device, a typical aerial bomb with two fuses, will have to be detonated.
The Maribor municipality meanwhile noted that last autumn the city council adopted a new decree on protection against natural and other disasters, including protection against unexploded ordnance.
The regulation envisages three levels of hazard, and in areas with a higher or medium level of hazard, prior to the start of construction work, a preliminary site investigation is required due to the possibility of finding bomb residues.
"Unfortunately, this did not happen in this case, but fortunately there were no consequences," said the deputy mayor, confirming that the Tezno area is one of those where the probability of finding unexploded ordnance is quite high.
In the Maribor area, 29 bomb attacks were carried out and a total of 15,795 bombs were dropped between January 1944 and April 1945.
The possibility of finding unexploded ordnance in the areas of Allied bombing is thus relatively high, and so is the possibility of an accident due to the uncontrolled activation of the bombs, the municipality warns.