No fewer than seven children have been killed, and several persons seriously wounded after ordnance detonated in Magami village, Maradun Local Government Area of Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria, a government official said on Tuesday.
Abubakar Dauran, the Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs in the state, said the incident occurred when six children picked an unexploded rocket thinking it was a toy while searching for firewood in the open field.
Dauran said an unknown number of persons sustained injuries and were immediately taken to the hospital in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital, for treatment.
According to a later report, the commissioner said that one of the victims taken to the hospital also died, putting the death toll at seven.
Though the state is riddled with armed conflicts between bandits and vigilante groups, it was not immediately clear how the ordnance which could only be found in the warring northeast came about.
Last year, the United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) said land mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and improvised explosive devices resulted in a growing number of fatal incidents in the conflict-ridden Sahel and Lake Chad basin regions where Nigeria stands.
According to the UNHCR, about 230 people were killed by IEDs and more than 300 injured in 2019. Between January and July 2020, more than 15 incidents were reported.
The UN refugee agency then called for stronger efforts to mitigate the risks for refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) posed by landmines and improvised explosive devices.
Dauran earlier said the state had put measures in place to prevent future occurrences of such incidents.
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