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Page last updated at 12:32 GMT, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 13:32 UK

School fire kills Uganda children

Rescue workers at Buddo Primary School
It is not clear how many children were in the room, which had 63 beds

An overnight fire in dormitory at a Ugandan junior school near the capital, Kampala, has killed at least 19 girls.

The BBC's Joshua Mmali at the scene says distraught parents are wailing as rescuers work to retrieve bodies.

"Preliminary investigations indicate that it was homicide," Police Inspector General Kale Kaihura said, reports AP news agency.

Our reporter says it has been established that the hostel's doors were locked from the outside.

Two adults are also reported to have died in the fire, which police say started at 2200 local time (1900 GMT) on Monday.

It is not clear how many children were in the room, which had 63 beds.

Hospital

A Red Cross worker told the BBC that it is difficult to identify the bodies as sometimes only pieces of bodies are being found.

Our reporter says it is possible that more than 70 girls were in the building as sometimes pupils sleep on mattresses on the floor.

"Several students who survived the incident have been taken to hospital with minor injuries but we are yet to know how many were in the dormitory at the time of the fire," police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba told the BBC News website.

Our reporter says Buddo Primary School, 12km from Kampala, is one of Uganda's top performing private schools.

School staff had recently been on strike over unpaid salaries.

This is the third deadly school fire in Uganda in two years.


SEE ALSO
Country profile: Uganda
13 Mar 08 |  Country profiles


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