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A mother holds the hand of her 3-year-old son, alleged to have been brutally beaten by three other children. The boy is in critical condition at Sainte-Justine Hospital. (Radio-Canada) People in the Atikamekw community of Manawan, Que., are in shock after learning of allegations that two preschool-aged brothers were brutally beaten by other children on the reserve.

The victims are aged three and five.

The incident happened Tuesday evening at around 6 p.m., as the two boys were playing in a playground close to a daycare in Manawan in the Lanaudière region, about 180 kilometres north of Joliette.

It’s believed the brothers were brutally beaten by three other children, who range in age from six to 10.

Their injuries were so serious that they had to be transported to hospitals outside the community.

The five-year-old was flown by helicopter to Joliette Hospital. His condition has since stabilized. Younger boy choked on sand

The three-year-old, who remains in critical condition, was rushed to Montreal’s Sainte-Justine Hospital where he had to undergo emergency lung surgery.

According to a source who spoke to Radio-Canada, the boy was forced to swallow sand, which caused serious damage to his lungs.All the children are from Manawan. The source said that the five-year-old boy had already been bullied in the past by one of the three child suspects.The local police force is handling the investigation, which is unique given the young age of the suspects.Meanwhile, band council leaders have set up a crisis centre to help anyone affected by the violent incident in the community of just under 2,200. Two children are alleged to have been brutally beaten by other children in the Atikamekw community of Manawan, 180 kilometres north of Joliette, Que. (Radio-Canada) with files from Radio-Canada

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