Discarded mortar detonates killing more than 20 in Somalia: Media

Local official says unexploded mortar detonated near to where mostly children – aged between 10 and 15 – were playing.

This handout picture released on April 4, 2013 by the African Union-United Nations (AU-UN) Information Support Team shows a section of ground cordoned off during a demonstration held by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Mogadishu, Somalia, on April 4, 2013. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team partook in a number of excercises, as part of the International Day of Mine Awareness, in order to draw attention to the huge number of mines, unexploded ordnances (UXOs), and explosive remnants of war (ERWs) that still exist in the country. AFP PHOTO / AU-UN IST PHOTO / TOBIN JONES RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / AU-UN IST PHOTO / TOBIN JONES" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo by TOBIN JONES / AU UN IST PHOTO / AFP)
A section of ground cordoned off during a demining demonstration held by the United Nations Mine Action Service [UNMAS] in Mogadishu, Somalia [File: AFP]

A mortar shell explosion in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region has killed more than 20 mostly children and young people and injured more than 50, according to media reports.

Most of the victims who were killed on Friday were aged between 10 and 15 years, according to news reports, which blamed the blast on an unexploded mortar shell which was struck and detonated near an area where the children and young people were playing.

The explosion “caused by unexploded mortar shells” occurred near the town of Qoryoley, approximately 120km (75 miles) south of the capital, Mogadishu, said Abdi Ahmed Ali, deputy district commissioner of Qoryoley.

“They were playing with a mortar shell … It exploded on them. Twenty of them died and others are injured,” Ali said.

“We request the government and aid agencies to clear mines and shells from the area,” he said.

Residents said that Somalia’s warring factions had left the shell behind at some stage.

Another report said the children had found an intact explosive device on a football field and were playing with it when it exploded. Recent rainfall had uncovered the explosive device, according to reports.


Source: News Agencies