South Sudan, 30 April 2012: UNICEF: Explosive weapons in populated areas must stop
JUBA, South Sudan, 30 April 2012 - UNICEF today said it was deeply alarmed by the presence of unexploded ordnance in Unity State, South Sudan which is injuring and killing children.
The children’s agency called on all armed groups to desist from the use of landmines and other explosive weapons, particularly in populated areas, which put civilians, particularly children, at risk of great harm.
On Saturday 28 April, five children, all boys aged between 9 and 14, unaware of the terrible danger, were injured by unexploded ordnance (UXOs) in Bentiu which exploded as they were handling it. One of the children died upon arrival at the hospital in Bentiu, one has been discharged and the other four are receiving treatment.
On the same day in nearby Rubkona town, another 16-year-old boy also sustained injuries when a grenade he was playing with exploded.
“These incidents clearly show the impact of conflict on children and the threat posed by UXOs”, said Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque. “It further highlights that children and communities in this country are at risk of being killed or maimed by UXOs even in the centre of town.”
“Use of explosive weapons in populated areas simply must stop,” she added.
As part of a series of preventative measures, UNICEF and partners are implementing Emergency Mine/UXO Risk Education (MRE) including the use of child-to-child approach in Bentiu, Rubkona and other parts of Unity State, particularly in the counties to the north where rebel militia groups have been active.
In addition, increased efforts will be made on landmine and UXO clearance in these high risk areas.
UNICEF, which works within the framework of the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Centre (UNMACC), coordinates and provides technical support to MRE in schools and communities through the national, international NGOs and community based organizations.
For more information, please contact:
Kate Donovan, UNICEF Press officer
Three UN Plaza
NY, NY 10017
Tel: office: + 1 212 326 7452
Cell: + 1 917 378 2128