World

Boy, 6, killed in homemade bomb blast

Father arrested for burying son's body and hiding incident from the authorities

A six-year-old boy was killed in Sabah when a fish bomb went off while his 11-member sea gypsy family was constructing it.

The accident occurred in a stilt house off Pulau Bum Bum, near Semporna, Sabah.

The boy's father and several others who were making the illegal device then buried the boy and tried to hide the incident from the police.

Four other family members - including a 10-year-old - were also injured in the Wednesday morning incident, Malaysia's The Star reported.

The 50-year old father has been arrested.

Police are looking for three other family members to assist in the investigations.

Sabah Police Commissioner Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman said on Thursday that the father initially claimed that someone by the name of Boy had thrown the bomb into the house at Kampung Hidayat on Pulau Bum Bum.

However, the father later admitted that they were making a fish bomb that had accidentally detonated.

He also admitted to police that he buried his son Julpi Elexson without reporting the incident to the police.

He added that Julpi suffered serious facial injuries.

Fish bombs are used to stun or kill fish for easy pickings, but using them is illegal because they damage the surrounding ecosystem, killing coral reefs.

Mr Jalaluddin said the incident came to light when the police received a tip-off from a member of the public about the explosion at 6.30am on Thursday.

He said police would obtain a court order to exhume the boy's body for a post-mortem.

HIDING IN THE AREA

He said that three other adult members of the family had fled and are believed to be in the Semporna area.

Mr Jalaluddin also rubbished a claim by a retired Special Branch officer that intelligence was not being shared between state police and the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom).

He said there were weekly intelligence exchanges between state police and Esscom.

The sea gypsies are Bajau and Suluk people, who traditionally lead a nomadic lifestyle, living on intricately carved wooden boats.

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