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UNICEF deeply shocked by the reported deaths of more than 20 children in Lower Shabelle region of Somalia following the detonation of a discarded explosive device.

Statement attributable to Ms. Wafaa Saeed, UNICEF Representative in Somalia MOGADISHU, 10 June 2023 – “UNICEF is deeply shocked and horrified by reports that at least 22 children were among 27 people killed in an explosion in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia following the detonation of an unexploded remnant of war in an area where the children were playing.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and wish the injured a quick recovery. No family should have to lose their loved ones in such heartbreaking circumstances.

“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.

Children are particularly vulnerable, attracted to remnants for their colourful, 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. 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.

“UNICEF is working through its local partners to provide assistance to affected individuals and families.”