The girls, Nane and Charlotte, were climbing on a pile of wood set to be the fire, when they found a 20-centimetre-long branch buried in the heap into which someone had drilled nine holes and inserted machine gun cartridges.
Police received a call on Thursday from a shooting club in Twistringen, Lower Saxony, to report the find. Such clubs are known for organizing Easter bonfires – a German tradition. The event was due to take place on the Sunday.
“Something like this does not happen by accident,” said Diepholz police spokesman Andrik Hackmann in a press statement. Officers believe that if the fire had been lit and the cartridges ignited, many people could have been badly injured.
By Tuesday, police had no clues or a suspect. Hackmann told the Bild newspaper that this Easter bonfire in past years had typically seen around 70 children attend.
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