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Girl Dies in IDP Camp Blast in Somalia, 17 Injured

FILE - A Somali policeman collects unexploded ordnance in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, Feb. 15, 2010. A girl died and at least 17 people were injured Saturday in Somalia's Sool region when an unexploded grenade she was playing with went off.

A child died and 17 people were injured Saturday when a grenade went off among a group of people at an IDP camp in Somalia’s Sool region, a local official told VOA.

“A child picked up an unexploded bomb somewhere near the camp and brought it among a group of IDPs resting under the shade of a tree and started playing with it. It went off and injured 18 people. On her way to hospital, [the] child died from her wounds,” said Khalif Mohamed Ali, the police chief of Sool region.

"I heard a very loud explosion and I rushed to the scene, and I saw mothers crying and at least 18 injured people, five of them children," witness Abdullahi Nuur told VOA. “The children were aged from five to 10.”

The IDP camp where the incident occurred is at Ari Adeye village North of Lasanod, the provincial capital of the region. It hosts hundreds of families who lost their animals to the crippling drought that hit Somalia. The explosion happened around 10 am local time.

Somalia has been convulsed by two decades of conflict and many times children have been killed, blinded, crippled - or inadvertently caused the death of their friends - while playing with unexploded ordnance or munitions left behind on the battlefield by parties to the conflict.

Abdukarim Olol contributed to this report from Lasanod, Somalia.