PESHAWAR: The United Nations children agency (Unicef) is deeply concerned by the death of three children, age 10 to 16, who were reported killed in the detonation of a landmine in South Waziristan tribal district near the Afghan border, on Tuesday.

Another two children were seriously injured in the blast which took place in the village of Tungi Badinzai in Ladha Union Council.

According to media, a boy was critically injured, and a girl maimed, in two separate landmine explosions which occurred in South Waziristan earlier this week.

On Thursday, three children were reported killed in the explosion of an abandoned hand grenade which they had picked while playing outside their homes in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan. The grenade detonated as they played with it.

“We offer our heartfelt sympathy to the families affected by these horrific incidents and share hopes for the recovery of the children who survived,” said Ms Aida Girma, Unicef Representative in Pakistan.

“No child should fall victim to landmines or explosive remnants of war. Unicef will continue to support the Government of Pakistan in mine risk education to raise awareness on the risks posed by landmines and explosives among children and families living in crisis-affected areas. It is equally important to continue clearing minefields and to rehabilitate and reintegrate those who have survived accidents.”

Children are particularly at risk from unexploded ordnance and landmines, which are small enough to pick up or kick around, and which they can mistake for toys or objects of value. They account for over half of those killed or injured by landmines and other explosive remnants of war globally.

Last month, a training workshop on dangers of explosives was organized for the journalists of Dera Ismail Khan by Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

Provincial Program Officer Sahibzada Manzar Hussain said explosive material in mountainous areas was washed away during huge flood in 2010 which resulted into the spread of the explosive in nearby plain areas. He said hand grenades and other explosive material explode on civilians when children find these bombs and play with it considering it a toy. He said these so-called toy-bombs have taken several lives recently. He said these lives and injuries could have been averted if awareness was created among the local people about the dangers posed by such material.

 

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