Unexploded ordinance kills over 11 children in Jur River

At least 11 children have been killed and several others injured when an unexploded ordnance went off in Jur River, Western Bahr el Ghazal State, media reports show.

The incident took place at Jebel Mile on Thursday morning. Some of the children were picking mangoes while others were unknowingly playing with the dangerous object when it exploded, an eyewitness told Eye Radio on Friday.

The children [didn’t] know about the bomb. They found it on the ground and started playing with it [till it went off],” said Lino Urayo. As South Sudan struggles for peace, it’s still demining the threat posed by thousands of land mines from the 21-year civil war.

The landmines and unexploded ordinance have claimed and injured more than 5,000 South Sudanese  since 2004, according to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS).

In June 2022, the UN Office for Refugees said experts from UNMAS had destroyed more than one million explosive devices in South Sudan, including 40,121 mines; 76,879 cluster bombs; and 974,968 other unexploded devices.

The total contamination area is now estimated to be around 16.1 km² (approximately 2,285 football pitches) with 345 remaining tasks comprising 112 AP minefields, 74 AT minefields and roads, 125 cluster munition strikes, and 34 confrontation areas.