25th November 2020
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Two Juba boys die from suspected mine explosion

Author: Alhadi Hawari | Published: Friday, November 13, 2020

UNMAS demolish a 100kg air-dropped bomb in South Sudan in 2019. Courtesy|UNMAS

Two children have died from a suspected mine explosion while grazing their goats in Wonglori area of Jondoru, west of Juba.

The incident happened on Wednesday 12 November 2020.

“Some residents heard an explosion, the father of one the kids tried to rescue them, he, unfortunately, found them dead in such a gruesome manner,” a relative confirmed.

The family of the victims told Eye Radio that Emmanuel Buli Gore and Elikaya Laku Mission -both 14-year-olds – encountered the unexploded ordinance while herding goats.

The children died on the spot. They were pupils of primary 2.

“One of the kids has been buried and the other one was taken to the village. This incident happened at around 2 pm, they are age-mates,” said Modi Awan, an uncle to one of the deceased child.

An investigation conducted by the United Nations Mine Action Service, UNMAS “found that the ordnance exploded when they were hitting it with a stone.”

According to the organization, South Sudan remains contaminated with landmines and other explosive remnants of war.

But since the 2016 violence, “there is no evidence or belief that warring factions are burying new (or reburying existing) landmines,” a statement by UNMAS to Eye Radio noted.

In 2019, UNMAS demolished its one-millionth explosive items in the world’s youngest nation.

Over the years, UNMAS reported destroying 1,048,000 items of explosive devices and more than 5.2 million bullets, including 39,726 mines, 74,106 cluster munitions, and 934,612 other items of unexploded ordnance (UXO), to make safe: 1,561 water points, 291 schools, and 269 health clinics.

It also cleared 4,232 km of road, enabling UN and humanitarian partners to deliver life-saving aid, as well as supporting functioning markets and sustainable development.

The destruction of Explosive Ordnance Risk Education, it said, ensured that 5,307,841 people, including internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees, and host communities, can recognize and report explosive hazards.

UNMAS expects to clear these known areas within the next three to five years.

In the meantime, UNMAS advises the public: “If anything looks like a bomb, if they suspect it – unless they absolutely know something is safe – don’t touch it. And if anybody sees something that they consider suspicious, they need to call our hotline, which is 0920001055.”

UNMAS often sends “a team out and assess it. And if it’s an item of dangerous ordnance, we will destroy it.”

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