Tragedy as 26 children burnt beyond recognition in Niger school fire

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Tragedy as 26 children burnt beyond recognition in Niger school fire

Tragedy hit the south of Niger, as a fire engulfed classrooms made from straw and wood, killing at least 26 children aged between five and six on Monday.

Chaibou Aboubacar, Maradi city mayor who confirmed the incident said “right now, we have 26 dead and 13 injured, four of them seriously.”

Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world, has tried to fix shortages of school buildings by constructing thousands of straw and woodsheds to serve as classrooms, with children sometimes sitting on the ground.

Fires in highly flammable classrooms are common but rarely result in casualties.

Three days of mourning have been declared in the Maradi region from Tuesday.

This is coming bearly seven months after a similar tragedy in the capital Niamey, where twenty children were burnt to death in a school fire in a working-class district in April.

Issoufou Arzika, secretary-general of the Niger Teachers’ Union, said on Monday that the fire incident had ‘decimated’ the school in Maradi.

Arzika said his union had alerted officials to the danger of the straw and wood classrooms after the Niamey fire.

“It is better to hold classes under trees than in straw huts, which have become flammable graves for pupils,” he said.

President Mohamed Bazoum recently promised to replace the wooden structures.

Tragedy as 26 children burnt beyond recognition in Niger school fire

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