ZAMBOANGA (Updated) -- A student died while three of his classmates were injured after playing with a grenade that exploded in a village in Zamboanga del Sur on Wednesday, February 22.

Philippine Army 53rd Infantry Battalion Commander Virgilio Hamos Jr. said the incident happened around 7:20 a.m. in the Comprehensive National High School located in the village of Poblacion, Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur.

Hamos identified the fatality as Rodulfo Halius, 17. He died while undergoing medical treatment.

Wounded were Jonny Daluyon, 13; Alona Fe Cabral, 14; and Treshea Mae Calmonte, 13. They were brought to the Provincial Medical Center in Pagadian City.

Hamos said Daluyon is reported to be in critical condition.

According to investigation, Daluyon brought the m203 cartridge grenade to their school from Mount Serungan, Lakewood.

Hamos said Daluyon and his classmates played, tinkered and buried the grenade before they went home Tuesday afternoon.

“As far as the information we received from 53rd Infantry Battalion, the m203 cartridge was brought by a student from Mt. Serungan, February 21, but buried it for safekeeping,” Philippine Army 1st Infantry Tabak Division Public Affairs Office Chief Benedicto Manquiquis said.

“However they dug out the cartridge and played it again and exploded in front of the school building. The wounded students were brought immediately to the nearby Barangay Baking Health Center but later the four students were evacuated in one of the hospitals in Pagadian City,” he added.

Manquiquis said the M203 cartridge might belong to the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who were on the run during the encounter with the 53rd Infantry Battalion on February 18 in Lakewood where a 16-year-old child warrior was killed. The body was retrieved by relatives a day after the incident.

“I urged the parents to check the activities of their school children if they are really in school. If they are out of school, the parents should take proper guidance to their children for might be recruited as NPA child warrior or be a member of the lawless elements operating the area,” he said.

He said “recruiting minors to join in an armed group is against the law.”

“In case any civilian who might find an improvised explosive device, unexploded cartridge of any kind of ammunition, we urge them to report immediately to proper authorities to prevent the same occurrence of explosion that may damage lives and properties,” Manquiquis added. (Richel V. Umel/SunStar Cagayan de Oro)

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