Cops probe Semphetenyane explosion

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Windows of a House hit by bomb blast
Windows of a House hit by bomb blast

…as child battles for life in hospital

Billy Ntaote

One of the two children injured when a suspected grenade exploded as they played with the device in Semphetenyane village last Saturday, remains critical but stable in Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

Koparala Mothae (12) and Teboho Leuta (15) are said to have picked up the “toy” at a dumpsite in their village last December and had been playing with it all along — only for the device to explode on Saturday at around 3pm, leaving both critically injured.

Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital (Tšepong) spokesperson, Limpho Seeiso yesterday told the Lesotho Times that one of the children was discharged on Monday, while the other remains in the ICU as doctors battle to save his life.

“The two children were admitted in hospital on Saturday, and one of them was unconscious at the time. However, the other boy was discharged on Monday, while the second patient who had been more seriously injured, is in critical condition. He sustained extensive internal injuries and underwent exploratory laparotomy on Monday. He is currently being closely monitored and remains in a critical but stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit here at Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital,” Dr Seeiso said.

Dr Seeiso further noted Tšepong Hospital had consulted specialists in Bloemfontein over the child’s injuries, and did not foresee the boy being transferred to South Africa for further treatment.

Koporala’s father, Tsepiso Mothae, told the Lesotho Times that he witnessed the tragedy. It is his child, Koparala, who is still in the ICU at Tšepong.

“It happened right before my eyes at around 3pm on Saturday; I was just a few metres from the children as they played with the device, which suddenly exploded.

“My neighbour’s son, Leuta, was injured from the knees down while my son was hit from the waist upwards, by shrapnel from the explosive.

“When we rushed the kids to hospital, I was certain my child had died in the blast. We took him to Maseru Private, and it was only when we were at the hospital that we saw him move his limbs. We were later told that the shrapnel had pierced his heart, lungs and liver”, said Mr Mothae.

According to the distraught father, he was told by the boys’ friends that they had picked up the “toy” at a dumpsite near their village.

“In fact, their friends said the boys picked up the device, which they thought was a toy, in December last year, but it somehow did not detonate until Saturday,” Mr Mothae said.

Matseliso Phethane — a teacher at Semphetenyane Primary where the children attend school — said the incident had left “everyone” in a state of shock.

“We were told that the two were collecting garbage at a dumpsite near their village when they found the device. We are all in shock because of this incident, and pray that both children will fully recover; they are in our prayers every single day,” said Ms Phethane.

On his part, police spokesperson, Clifford Molefe said the incident was still under investigation.

“We have not established what really happened although the children’s parents have said a device the boys were playing with exploded when one of the kids pulled what looked like a trigger.

“We are still investigating the incident and cannot say what happened at this point,” Senior Inspector Molefe said.

He confirmed in addition to injuring the kids, the blast had destroyed windows, doorframes and the roof of the home near where the children had been playing.

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