Six young people were killed when their horse-drawn vehicle hit an old landmine unearthed by rain in Senegal’s southern Casamance region.
Casamance is home to one of Africa’s oldest ongoing conflicts, which has claimed thousands of lives since 1982, and the mine was believed to be a remnant from earlier fighting.
It exploded on Friday afternoon in the village of Kandiadiou, near the Gambian border, the mayor of Sindian sub-prefecture, Yankouba Sagna, told Agence France-Prersse on Saturday.
“A cart hit a mine,” he said, referring to a horse-drawn transport commonly used in Senegal.
“It was carrying young people returning from Friday prayers. The mine that exploded was not laid recently. Old mines remain in the crop fields. When it rains, they appear. We have always asked for the area to be de-mined.”
Casamance is one of Senegal’s wettest regions and is in the last days of its rainy season.
President Macky Sall expressed his sorrow and offered his condolences to the families of the victims, in a statement posted on Twitter.
Mohamed Moustapha Diagne, a spokesperson for the education minister, said two of the victims had been primary school age.