Discarded Explosives in South Sudan Kill 10, Including Kids

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A cloud of smoke billows above the site of a controlled detonation of land mines by experts from the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) following a demining exercise of a field rigged up during the civil war at Gondokoro village in the capital Juba, South Sudan, on Jan. 26, 2022. (AFP via Getty Images)

JUBA, South Sudan—At least 10 people in South Sudan, including three children, have been killed after mistaking unexploded ordnance for scrap metal, an official said Friday.

The commissioner of Jur River county, James Bak, confirmed Thursday’s accident in Western Bahr el Ghazal and said two other children were injured.

He said people in Jebel-Mille area had been gathering mangoes when they came across the unexploded ordnance and assumed it was metal scrap. They started collecting it for sale when it exploded, he said.

“It killed seven women and three children,” Bak told The Associated Press. The wounded children’s mothers were among those killed.

Mines and other unexploded ordnance remain a major problem in South Sudan, which is recovering from a five-year civil war that ended in 2018. More than 5,000 South Sudanese have been killed or injured by land mines and unexploded ordnance since 2004, according to the United Nations Mine Action Service. Hundreds of victims have been children.

The local commissioner urged locals not to handle unknown objects but report them instead.

By Deng Machol

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