Residents of Yammama village in Malumfashi Local Government Area were early Saturday thrown into mourning after an explosion on a farmland killed 7 children and injured five others.
The dead, Daily Trust on Sunday learnt, were of the same father, Malam Ilya Adamu Yammama.
The Katsina State Government said a total of eight people died in the explosion.
Eyewitnesses said the children, who had gone to the farm to collect grass for their animals, picked an object suspected to be an abandoned hand grenade. They were said to have dragged over it until the object suddenly blew off.
Locals said the loud explosion sent fear into the village, causing many to rush to the scene.
A woman who saw the children struggling with the explosive, advised them to drop it, a local told our correspondent at the village.
“After they dropped it, the woman’s daughter mentioned that she would pick it and sell at a scrap metal shop. The remark encouraged the children to pick up the grenade again,” he said.
“As the woman and her daughter turned to leave, there was a loud bang,” the man said, adding that they returned and met mangled dead bodies of some of the children and others with gory injuries.
It was later discovered that the children had removed the safety pin on the grenade, triggering an explosion.
Six children died on the spot while another one died at the hospital, residents said. The explosion occurred near a poultry farm on the farmland located at the outskirt of Yammama, our correspondent learnt.
The bereaved father gave some of their names as Muhammad, Umar, Mujtafa, Maryam and Isyaka.
Our correspondent, who witnessed the funeral prayer for the victims, which was led by Danejin Katsina, the district head of Mahuta, Alhaji Bello Abdulkadir Yammama, observed that the father of the children was visibly shaken.
The prayer was attended by many sympathisers, among them, the district head of Malumfashi, Justice Saddiq Abdullahi Mahuta (rtd).
Six of the children were buried around 6:30pm at the community’s cemetery while one body was being awaited from the hospital.
Our correspondent counted four survivors receiving treatment at the hospital.
A grandmother to some of the children at the hospital gave their names as Fatima Ilya, Rabi Lawal, Maryam Danmalam and Ilya Ilya.
Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that the only eyewitness at the scene and her daughter were being questioned by the police.
Residents speculated that the hand grenade could have been dropped by security agents or bandits operating in parts of the state.
For years now, parts of Katsina State have been under attacks by armed bandits, who sack communities and kill villagers.
The scene of yesterday’s explosion is, however, free of such attacks.
Military grenade responsible – Police
The spokesman of the Katsina police command, SP Gambo Isah, yesterday disclosed that preliminary investigation revealed that the explosion was caused by a military grenade.
Similarly, an aide to Governor Aminu Bello Masari on social media, Mohammed Garba, said the death toll had risen to eight.