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Niger school fire leaves dozens of children dead

At least 26 children between the ages of five to six have been killed and dozens more injured when a fire swept through a school in Niger’s second-largest city, Maradi.

“Right now, we have 26 dead and 13 injured, four of them seriously,” said Chaibou Aboubacar, mayor of Maradi city late on Monday.

“This tragic event once again puts the Nigerian people in mourning,” the government also said in a statement and added that straw and wood classrooms would henceforth be banned across the country.

An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the fire and where it started, the Regional Direction of National Education confirmed.

Three days of mourning have been declared in the city from Tuesday.

Lack of safe school buildings 

The Niamey school fire in April resulted in the death of twenty children.

Issoufou Arzika, secretary general of the Niger Teachers’ Union, said his union had alerted officials to the danger of the straw and wood classrooms after the Niamey fire.

President Mohamed Bazoum recently promised to replace the wooden structures.

Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world, has tried to fix shortages of school buildings by constructing thousands of straw and wood sheds to serve as classrooms.

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