Ugandan children died in their sleep in burning school for blind | News

The disaster forced students to spend the night at a school in Mukono, east of the capital Kampala.

At least 11 people, mostly children, have died in a fire that tore through a dormitory at a school for the blind in eastern Uganda while students were sleeping, officials said.

The disaster happened around 1:00 a.m. Tuesday (22:00 GMT Monday) at Salama School for the Blind in Luga village, Mukono district, east of the capital Kampala.

“The cause of the fire is unknown at the moment but so far 11 people have died from the fire while six are in critical condition and hospitalized. [to hospital]”, the Uganda Police Force said on Twitter.

Police added that an investigation has been launched and details will be released later.

“Most of those who died were children at the school and our sympathies go out to the parents,” Interior Minister General Kahinda Otafiire told AFP news agency.

He said the school had been treated as a “crime scene” and promised to take responsibility.

“As government we will go to find the root cause of the fire and if there are any perpetrators they will be caught and the law will deal with it,” he added.

Caught while sleeping

The school’s head teacher Francis Kirube, who is also blind, told AFP that flames swept through the dormitory while the students were sleeping.

Images broadcast on Ugandan TV showed a burned but largely intact building where the fire broke out, window and door frames charred and corrugated iron roof damaged.

Forensic teams were seen in white protective gear at the school while grieving parents gathered nearby.

Salama was built in April 1999 by the local government in Mukono and serves children and young people between the ages of 6 and 25.

Uganda has suffered a series of deadly school fires in recent years.

In November 2018, 11 boys died and 20 others suffered severe burns in a suspected arson attack at a boarding school in southern Uganda.

In April 2008, 18 schoolgirls burned to death along with an adult when flames engulfed their dormitory at a junior high school near the Ugandan capital.

In March 2006, at least 13 children were killed and several injured when a fire destroyed a religious school in western Uganda. In July of the same year, six children died in a similar fire in the east.

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