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School fire kills 20 children in Niger

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At least 20 children were killed in a fire outbreak at a public school in Niamey, Niger Republic, on Tuesday evening.

The commander of the country’s fire service, Sidi Mohammed, confirmed the incident in a statement.

He said: “21 classrooms in straw huts caught fire at about 4:00 p.m. (1500 GMT). Around 20 children were trapped in the blaze.

“Rescuers set off rapidly and the fire was put out. But the power of the fire was enormous. The children were not able to escape.”

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The cause of the fire has not been ascertained.

The Niger Prime Minister, Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou travelled to the scene of the tragedy on the edge of the capital to offer his condolences to the children’s parents.

Authorities in the Sahel country have been accused by the international community of building thousands of straw huts to serve as classrooms with children sometimes seated on the floor.

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