Mortar blast kills 27 in Somalia – state news media

(Reuters) – 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.

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.

(Reporting by Akriti Sharma and Abdi Sheikh; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Marguerita Choy)