Tanzania: Grief As Kyerwa Pays Last Respects to Deceased Children

A SOMBRE mood reigned at Itera village in Kyerwa District, Kagera Region yesterday morning as caskets bearing the bodies of children who died in a fire accident on Monday were brought at the village's ground for residents to pay their last respects.

Kagera Regional Commissioner Brigadier General Marco Gaguti led hundreds of mourners to bid farewell to the fallen ten pupils after the completion of DNA tests and identification of their bodies.

For the past three days scientists from the Office of the Chief Government Chemist have been carrying out DNA tests to the bodies of the children who were burnt beyond recognition.

Addressing mourners at Kyerwa District's Itera village, Brig Gen Gaguti said the nation was mourning the loss of ten innocent lives adding; "as we mourn the deceased children we should make sure that such tragic incidents don't recur. These children were aged between 4-12 years."

He identified the deceased as Shadidu Siraji (4) from Benaco village in Ngara District, Alikani Ally (6) a resident of Chonyonyo village in Karagwe District, Adam Siraji (6) from Ruzinga village in Missenyi District and Samwel Mohamed (8) from Kayanga village in Karagwe District.

The list also includes Edmond Erickmas (8), a resident of Bugabo village in Bukoba Rural District, Alimerick Bernard (10) from Mugeza village, Bukoba Urban District, Abubakar Ibrahim (7) from Mabira village, in Karagwe, Optatus Richard (6) from Kayanga-Karagwe, Alfa Alauni (12) from Kibimba-Ngara and Abduhazary Yasin (7) from Kamagambo village in Karagwe District.

Each body was then handed over to the parents and relatives.

Brig Gen Gaguti, on behalf of the government, offered 250,000/- burial costs for each child.

Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) Secretary General, Dr Bashiru Ally, on behalf of the CCM National Chairman, President John Magufuli consoled the bereaved families.

Addressing Kagera Region's residents in Bukoba, Kagera region on Wednesday this week while on his campaign trail President Dr John Magufuli directed relevant authorities in the country to conduct thorough inspection on all schools with boarding facilities to establish if they observed safety standards during their construction.

The Head of State expressed sadness over the fire incident that killed the children, ordering stern measures to be instituted against those operating without valid permits.

"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 installed are working properly," the President was quoted in his directives.

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

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro who visited the scene of the accident the same day insisted that no stone would be left unturned until the cause of the accident was established.

He said initial investigation showed that the fire outbreak happened at around midnight on Sunday night in a dormitory where 74 boys were sleeping.

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

"A thorough investigation is underway to establish the cause of the fire outbreak. However, initial investigation revealed that faulty wiring could have caused the accident," the IGP was quoted as saying.

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 4 -12 years old.

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