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Kenya blames colonial Britain for child landmine deaths

Kenya has blamed British colonialists after four children were killed by a landmine.

The children, aged eight to 17, had been grazing livestock in a field in the Mandera region when they found the landmine.

They were playing with the device before it exploded on Saturday.

Two others were seriously injured.

Ali Roba, governor of the Mandera region, said the device was planted by the UK during its colonial occupation of Kenya.

He asked security officials to clear the fields of any devices from before 1963 when the country gained independence.

Mr Roba tweeted that he was grieving for the families of the four children killed by the landmine “buried during colonial period”.

Five children aged 12 to 17 were killed in the same area of northern Kenya on 20 December.

They had also been playing with an explosive device they found while grazing livestock.

Many children who live in the arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya look after their family’s livestock after school.

Some are forced to drop out of school to help.

In May last year, five police officers who were part of Mr Roba’s convoy died after their vehicle hit a landmine.

Kenyans have called for the British government to compensate the families of those killed by landmines.

Sociologist Abu Shaahid wrote on Twitter: “Another old landmine left behind by British Military kills children in Mandera county Kenya. Compensation and demining necessary to save lives.”

Mohamed Fazul added: “The British government must accept the responsibility and compensate the bereaved family.”

North Eastern Regional Commissioner Mohamud Saleh said officials are trying to clear explosives in the area.

“We are in consultation with relevant agencies to move there and mop up the many explosives which seem to be there,” he said.

Kenya was part of the British Empire for 43 years.

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