TANZANIA: Shock as inferno kills students after school reopening

Form One students were killed when a fire broke out at the Ilala Islamic Secondary School in Tanzania on weekend headmaster Buhero Issa confirmed.

The incident involved the second-floor dormitory of the school located near the junctions of Kasulu and Arusha streets in Ilala District, Dar es Salaam Region.

Mr. Issa named the students as Aziz Juma, Ramadhan Abdulrahman, and Ibrahim Balisusa.  “So far we don’t know the cause of the fire, but experts are still investigating. The incident has not only caused human loss but that of property as well.

“Nothing could be salvaged from the dormitory, not even a single mattress or student’s belongings. The fire broke out suddenly,” said Issa.

He said the structure has four rooms for Form One to Six students, and the fire broke out in the one used by Form One students.

The headmaster said further that students have returned home and the management will issue a guideline as to when the students would be able to return to continue with studies.

Police Officer Commanding District Zubeir Chambela said the fire incident broke out in a dormitory of the school owned by the Islamic Foundation.

“At the ground floor of the school there is a mosque, on the first floor there are offices and conference halls and the dormitories are on the second floor. Investigations are ongoing to establish the cause of the incident,” said OCD Chambela.

According to the patron of the students, the OCD said, there were more than 300 students in the school as the incident occurred, but most escaped unhurt with some sustaining minor injuries.

“We at first thought that all the students had escaped unhurt, but when we searched the dormitories, that was when we discovered that three students had lost their lives. In the preliminary search, we noted that most items had been consumed by fire, including books and beds.

“In the second room is where we discovered the three bodies. They burnt beyond recognition.

“We collected the bodies and took them to the Muhimbili National Hospital for preservation,” said OCD Chambela.

Children across Tanzania headed to schools last week, after three months of closure due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move made the country, the first in East Africa to allow students to return to schools. Tanzania had earlier reopened universities and other higher learning institutions.

Children wearing neat uniforms and face masks were seen jostling to get into public transport in the country’s commercial capital and the port city of Dar es Salaam.


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