The UN children’s fund (UNICEF) has deplored the death of 27 children and 53 others who were injured after unexploded ordnance exploded at a playing field near Qoryoley town in southern Somalia on Friday.
Wafaa Saeed Abdelatef, UNICEF Representative in Somalia, said the UN agency was deeply shocked and horrified by the tragic incident following the detonation of an unexploded remnant of war in an area where the children were playing.
“This tragic incident underlines the importance of all parties to the conflict in Somalia to handle ordnance with care, to clear existing mines and unexploded devices, and scale up mine risk education among children and communities,” Saeed said in a statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia on Saturday evening.
Qoryoley Deputy District Commissioner Abdi Ahmed Ali said on Friday that the tragedy was caused by explosive remnants of war like bombs and landmines that children were playing with in an open field at a local village.
The minors, Ahmed said, found unexploded ordnance in an open field and started playing with it but unfortunately, the remnants went off, killing some of them.
UNICEF said children are mostly vulnerable, attracted to remnants for their colorful, shiny or unusual appearance and unaware of how dangerous they are.
“No matter where they are used, or how long ago they may have been deployed, explosive weapons can continue to endanger a child’s most fundamental rights for months and years to come,” it said.
The UN agency said the safety of children must be the primary consideration in all situations and no effort should be spared in upholding children’s rights to a safe and protective environment.
Saeed said UNICEF is working through its local partners to provide assistance to affected individuals and families and extended sympathies to the families of the victims and wish the injured a quick recovery. (Xinhua)