Mortar blast kills 27 in Somalia - state news media-UPDATED

Mortar blast kills 27 in Somalia - state news media-UPDATED
# 10 June 2023 04:09 (UTC +04:00)

A mortar shell explosion near Qoryoley town in Somalia's Lower Shabelle region killed about 27 individuals, mainly children, and injured 53 on Friday, according to the state news agency, APA reports.

Earlier, officials and residents confirmed to Reuters that the death toll stood at 20.

"This disaster happened today near Qoryoley town. They were playing with a mortar shell that did not go off. It exploded on them. Twenty of them died and others are injured," Abdi Ahmed, deputy district commissioner of Qoryoley told reporters earlier.

"We request the government and aid agencies to clear mines and shells from the area," he added.

Residents said that the unexploded shells, which were being played with by the children, were used by the waring factions in Somalia.



22 people, including two children, were killed in southern Somalia on Friday when unexploded mortar shells detonated, according to a local district official, APA reports citing Teletrader.

During a press conference, the official named Abdi Ahmed Ali said that the explosion happened near the town of Qoryoley, approximately 120 kilometers south of Somalia's capital Mogadishu. According to AFP, most victims were "young children who died on the spot after one of them struck an explosive device near a playground."

The region is frequently targeted by the al-Shabaab group, which has been leading an insurgency against the internationally backed-Somali federal government since 2007. Last month, the al-Qaeda-affiliated group killed 54 Ugandan peacekeepers in an attack on an African Union base in Bulo Marer, a town about 30 kilometers from Qoryoley.

Though the group has been pushed out of Somalia's main towns and cities, it still holds considerable power in large parts of the countryside.