Kenya: Hand Grenade Kills Two Boys Who Mistook It for Toy in Isiolo

23 September 2021

Police in Isiolo are investigating the source of a hand grenade that exploded and killed two boys who were playing with the device after mistaking it for a football.

The boys, aged seven and eight, died after the grenade exploded outside a home in Matarba village, Merti Sub-County, Isiolo.

One of the boys died on the spot while the other, who had been injured, succumbed while being rushed to hospital for treatment.

Police reports indicate the boys were playing outside the home of Dabaso Huka Golicha when the explosive, which they mistook for a ball, went off around 5pm on Tuesday.

It, however, remains unclear whether the children collected the device by the roadside and carried it to the home or it had been placed there targeting Mr Huka's family.

Preliminary investigations show that the device could have been a hand grenade as pellet holes on some containers in the homestead and iron sheets were recovered near the boy's body by the officers who visited the crime scene.

The incident has been linked to February's seizure of an AK-47 rifle, two hand grenades and 128 rounds of ammunition and the arrest of two men who were transporting the weapons in a vehicle along Yamicha-Duma road.

Thorough search

Another vehicle that was suspected to have carried weapons managed to escape while the police officers engaged in fierce fire exchange with the two criminals who refused to slow down when flagged off. The vehicle had two suspects.

Residents suspect the device could have been dropped by the criminals who escaped during the February 21, 2021, incident.

"We suspect the criminals dropped several while escaping and call for a thorough search of the area so that we prevent any future deaths," Halkano Wako said.

Explosives from conflict-prone areas in far-flung Garbatulla and Merti Sub-Counties litter the surroundings putting children at risk, residents said.

Isiolo County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding said investigations were ongoing to establish where the grenade came from.

He asked the public to be alert and inform police when they come across suspicious devices for action to prevent deaths.

In October 2018, a 12-year-old boy was killed and eight children injured when a grenade, which one of them was playing with, exploded at an orphanage in Burat ward.

Another explosive was found in the compound and detonated by bomb experts.

The devices, security sources say, are either buried during clashes or deliberately dropped by people with ulterior motives.

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