KAMPALA (AFP) – Six children were killed and five others injured in north-west Uganda after an old explosive they found in the bushes detonated as they played with it, police said on Thursday (Feb 18).
Three children died instantly while three others succumbed to injuries en route to hospital in Adjumani, a district of West Nile region that witnessed years of conflict and insurgencies.
“The children were playing in the bushes on Tuesday afternoon when they came across an object, and it exploded as they were playing with it,” Ms Josephine Angucia, a regional police spokesman, told AFP on Thursday.
“Preliminary investigations suggest the explosion was from a hand grenade abandoned during the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency that affected West Nile region, and in particular, Adjumani which was greatly affected.”
Five children were seriously wounded and being treated at the district hospital, Ms Angucia said.
It was the second fatal accident in Adjumani in less than two weeks involving leftover munitions, with a separate recent explosion killing two people, the police spokesman said.
In the 1990s, government forces battled rebels from the West Nile Bank Front and the LRA across northern Uganda, with civilians suffering a horrific toll. The West Nile Bank Front was crushed by the end of the decade but the LRA survived, continuing its bloody rebellion against President Yoweri Museveni until being forced out of Uganda in 2006.
The United Nations says the LRA killed more than 100,000 people and abducted 60,000 children in a campaign of violence that spread beyond Uganda to Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
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