Lucky to be alive 

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bomb kidsSempheteyanne friends recall narrow escape

‘Mantoetse Maama

Two teenagers from Sempheteyanne village who were left fighting for their lives after a suspected grenade exploded as they played with it on 16 May this year, are now both out of hospital and almost fully recovered.

Koparala Mothae (12) and Teboho Leuta (15) picked up the metallic object at a dumpsite in their village and were fiddling with the device when it detonated, leaving the two friends critically injured.

While Teboho was detained in hospital for two days, Koparala stayed much longer due to the severity of the injuries.

However, the Lesotho Times has since established the 12-year-old has also left hospital and is on the road to recovery—much to the relief of his loved ones.

“When we rushed the kids to Maseru Private Hospital, I was certain my child was already dead because he was not moving at all. Doctors later told us that the shrapnel from the exploded device had pierced Koporala’s heart, lungs and liver, making us lose that he would ever recover,” said Mr Tsepiso Mothae said.

But the relieved father last week said his son was now out of danger. The boy was playing with his friends when the Lesotho Times crew visited Semphetenyane last Friday.

“My son stayed unconscious in hospital for four days and the family was worried that he would not make it.

“Watching him lying on the hospital bed fighting for his life was the worst experience of my life. This accident was the most terrible thing that could ever happen to anyone; one minute the children are playing happily and the next, fighting for their lives,” Mr Mothae said.

“The other painful thing is I was watching them play near a neighbour’s home when the accident happened. Suddenly, I heard this huge bang and the next thing the boys were badly injured. I still remember that day as though it’s yesterday.

“When my son got to Bloemfontein after being referred to the South African hospital by local doctors because of the seriousness of the injury, we were told the operation he needed to undergo could create more complications as the shrapnel had gone deep into the organs. But we prayed and he has since returned home, and looking lively. He left hospital on 12 June and right now, has gone to Teboho’s home where the incident occurred. He told me that he just wants to see the place where he nearly lost his life once again, and maybe see if he can remember what really happened on that day.”

Teboho, who appeared to remember more of the detonation, narrated how they happened to pick up the explosive.

“We were at the dumpsite and we saw this device. Koparala told me that he first saw it in December last year and that one of our friends had told him it was a bomb, so they left it there. But we wanted to sell it to metal-dealers and did not believe it was a bomb, hence we brought it home that day.

“When we got here, we decided to inspect the device more closely with my friend. We thought it had a wire inside so I pulled it and it made a strange sound and then another. And all of a sudden, it exploded, and the world went blank,” Teboho said.

On his part, Koparala said he did not remember much from the incident.

“I cannot remember much, except that one minute we are playing and the next I am in hospital, in pain and with everything looking blurry. I feel okay now except for my hand which is still very painful; the healing wounds are not that much of a problem now. I am determined that after the winter holiday, I will be back at school.”

A neighbour, ‘Manyefolo Liau, said she thought the roar outside was a car-crash.

“I ran out of my house to look down the road but there was nothing there. I then saw smoke coming from Leuta’s home and people screaming. It was sad but we thank God the boys are alive,” Ms Liau said.

Meanwhile, the police are yet to determine what the device was.

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