Statement by Ms. Wafaa Saeed, UNICEF Representative in Somalia, on the reported deaths of 8 people, including 6 children, in a landmine explosion in Hirshabelle State, Somalia
MOGADISHU, 12 July 2023 - “UNICEF is deeply saddened by reports that six children were among the victims in a landmine explosion that killed 8 people on Sunday, near the town of Bulaburde, in Hirshabelle state of Somalia. The children were part of two families travelling in an auto-rickshaw when it struck the landmine. Losing loved ones in such tragic circumstances is heartbreaking. We extend our deepest condolences to the families and wish the injured a quick recovery.
“This tragic incident comes barely a month after 22 children were killed by an unexploded ordnance in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, once again highlighting the dangers that children in Somalia face as they go about their daily lives. After decades of conflict, Somalia has become one of the most dangerous places on earth for children, according to the recent UN Secretary-General’s Report on Children and Armed Conflict. In 2022, more than 3,000 cases of grave child rights violations were verified, with 200 children killed and nearly 600 maimed.
“All parties to the conflict in Somalia have a duty to handle ordnance with care, to avoid contaminating populated and transit areas with explosive remnant of war, to clear existing mines and unexploded devices, and to scale up mine risk education among children and communities.
“The safety of children must be the primary consideration in all situations and no effort should be spared in upholding their rights to a safe and protective environment.”
“UNICEF is working with the government and partners to provide care and assistance to child victims of landmines in Somalia and with civil society actors to provide risk education and awareness on explosive ordnance to children and their care givers to better protect themselves.”
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
UNICEF has been working in Somalia since 1972 when its first office opened in Mogadishu. Today UNICEF has over 300 staff working in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Dollow, Garowe, Hargeisa and also Nairobi, Kenya. Together with 200 international and national NGOs and community-based organizations, UNICEF delivers services in Health, Nutrition, WASH, Education and Child Protection, and responds to emergencies and supports peace-building and development.