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 Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 18:22 GMT
'Bomb' kills Sri Lanka children
A disused military helmet rests on a pole
Disused armaments are often found in the fields
At least six people, five of them children, have been killed in Sri Lanka after they tried to open a suspected parcel bomb, police say.

The incident happened in the village of Eppawala, about 150 kilometres (95 miles) north-east of the capital, Colombo.
Map of Sri Lanka with Eppawala

Police are still investigating but it seems a booby-trapped parcel was left over from the country's civil war.

The incident is one of the worst of its kind and highlights the problem of unexploded ordnance and landmines which litter the north-east of the country.

The school children found the parcel in Eppawala-Kattattiya in the North Central Province near the town of Anuradhapura - an area which has always been under government control but which is close to the conflict zone.

Awareness

The children took the parcel to a relative to open and it exploded inside his house.

There are some awareness programmes to warn children of the dangers of explosives, but in
Medical camp in Sri lanka
Many people have been injured by unexploded devices
northern Sri Lanka there are still cases of young boys and girls being injured after playing with unexploded grenades and shells.

It is not difficult to find people living amidst the landscape of war in rebel-controlled northern Sri Lanka.

Families bathe their children in ammunition cases and store their pitiful belongings in discarded mortar cases in the ruins of their former homes.

Some live next to minefields where skeletons remain scattered along with the debris of war - helmets and rotting flak jackets.


Peace efforts

Background

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See also:

07 Jan 03 | South Asia
06 Jan 03 | South Asia
01 Jan 03 | South Asia
30 Dec 02 | South Asia
26 Dec 02 | South Asia
05 Dec 02 | South Asia
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