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JPM orders schools inspection after deadly fire incident

PRESIDENT Dr John Magufuli has directed relevant authorities in the country to conduct thorough inspection of all schools with boarding facilities to establish if they observed safety standards during their construction.

Dr Magufuli issued the directives yesterday when addressing a campaign rally in Kagera Region as expressed sadness over the fire accident that killed 10 pupils recently.

Dr Magufuli ordered stern legal measures to be instituted against those operating without valid permits.

In this respect, the Ministry of State in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Governments), the Police Force and authorities working in the construction industry will now be  required to get down to the task.

 “Fire incidents cannot be allowed to continue claiming innocent lives. Leaders should take action by inspecting schools, especially boarding facilities and ensure fire alert systems are installed and are working properly," he said.

An inferno broke out at around dawn at Byamungu Islamic English Medium Primary School, in Kyerwa District on Monday, killing ten pupils, aged between six to 12 years, leaving six others critically injured.

The CCM presidential candidate asked the meeting to observe a one-minute silence in honour of the fallen children.

Equally, he directed the Kagera Regional Commissioner (RC) Brig Gen Marco Gaguti to ensure that  the owner of the school, identified as Abdul Bushagama, who  was  being held by Police to assist in  investigation is released forthwith, adding that  the government would shoulder the costs of burial of the deceased.

According to Brig Gen Gaguti, the school had been closed for five days while a probe team comprising security organs is investigating the tragic incident.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro, who visited the scene of the accident on Monday, said  DNA tests will be conducted to   identify  the  bodies of the ten pupils.  

The IGP insisted that no stone will be left unturned until the cause of the accident is established.

  The injured children were rushed to Nyakahanga Designated Hospital (DDH) for treatment.

“Thorough investigation is underway to establish the cause of the fire outbreak but initial investigation revealed that faulty wiring could have caused the accident," he said.

Byamungu Islamic English Medium primary school, in Kyerwa District, has a total of 127 pupils in Standard One to Six.  The dormitory which was gutted by fire had 74 pupils-all boys aged between 6 -13 years old.

Meanwhile, Agape Godrich and Martha Nickson report from Dar es Salaam that Chief Sheikh Mufti Aboubakar Zubeir has asked the Islamic community across the country and the parents of children who passed away in the fire accident to remain calm as authorities are investigating the tragic incident.

Extending his message of condolences yesterday, Mufti Zubeir said: “We have received this information with great sadness and we offer our deepest condolences to the parents of the children who have lost their lives.”

"I offer my condolences to the Head Teacher of the Byamungu Primary School and the parents for the loss of the children,” he added.

Mufti Zubeir also sent condolences to President Dr John Magufuli, the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Professor Joyce Ndalichako and Kagera Regional Commissioner Brig.General Marco Gaguti.

Mufti Zubeir directed all school owners to strengthen security, including taking  precautions against fire accidents by adhering to building standards.

He called upon school owners to ensure wiring systems are up to standards, equipping buildings with fire extinguishers and cameras for security purposes.

He said Bakwata is still waiting for official information from authorities, asking Muslims and the general public to  be patient during this difficult time. He asked the general public to maintain peace and harmony.

THE ruling party, CCM, has promised to open ...

Author: MEDDY MULISA in Bukoba

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