Dozens of children were killed after a fire broke out at their religious school in Liberia on Wednesday.
Police spokesman Moses Carter said the blaze started about midnight and gutted a dormitory and school building where students slept in Paynesville, on the outskirts of the Liberian capital, Monrovia.
Only the imam, their teacher, and two students managed to escape, said Carter.
“The kids were learning the Quran when the fire broke out,” he said.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
Parents at the scene wailed and wept as police fought a surging crowd to make way for ambulances taking away the bodies.
Carter originally said 30 children were killed before revising the death toll down to 27. Two survivors were taken to hospital, he added.
“This is a tough time for the families of the victims and all of Liberia,” President George Weah said in a post on Twitter. “Deepest condolences go out to the bereaved.”
My prayers go out to the families of the children that died last night in Paynesville City; as a result of a deadly fire that engulfed their school building. This is a tough time for the families of the victims and all of Liberia. Deepest condolences go out to the bereaved
— George Weah (@GeorgeWeahOff) September 18, 2019
Weah visited the scene and was set to attend the victims’ funeral at a Monrovia mosque before burial later in the day, said spokesman Isaac Solo Kelgbeh.
Relatives gathered outside the yellow-and-green entrance to the building, whose sheet metal roof was burned.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies