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Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 16:31 UK

Tanzania buries school fire dead

Tanzania map

Hundreds of mourners have attended the mass burial in Tanzania for 12 girls who died in a dormitory fire.

The BBC's Josephat Mwanzi said the bodies, which were burned beyond recognition, were put in separate graves with numbered markers.

Their names will be added to the graves in school in Idodi, 460km (285 miles) west of Dar es Salaam, when the results of DNA tests are known.

The fire is thought to have been caused by a student reading by candlelight.

Police say it probably set light to a mosquito net and the flames spread through the dormitory at Idodi Secondary School on Saturday night.

Tears

Our reporter says parents and pupils gathered around the graves to see the coffins being lowered.

He said it was heartbreaking to watch and many of the mourners were in tears.

Afterwards, some of the pupils said the girls' dormitories at the school were often locked at night to stop them going out.

Fourteen girls who were seriously injured in the fire are being treated at a hospital in nearby Iringa town.

Nine others are being looked after in Idodi village - and at least two of them attended the funeral.

After the funeral, the pupils were sent home for three weeks so a new dormitory can be built.

Officials had earlier said the dead would be buried in a mass grave because their bodies had been burnt beyond recognition.

Scores of schoolchildren have died in similar incidents in neighbouring Kenya and Uganda in recent years.



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