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MANNYA FIRE: First lady, security minister order teachers, students to evacuate premises as police lists the deceased

First Lady and Education Minister, Mrs Janet Museveni and Minister for Security, Gen Elly Tumwine, has sanctioned the evacuation of other students from St Bernards SS Mannya after a fire gutted the school in the wee hours of Monday Morning November 12, 2018 (PML Daily PHOTO)

RAKAI – First Lady and Education minister, Janet Museveni, together with Gen. Elly Tumwine, the security minister visited St. Bernard’s Senior Secondary School in Kifamba sub-county Rakai district after a fire killed 10 students.

Gen Tumwime has condemned the administration for locking the emergency doors were locked permanently.

Gen. Tumwine with the DG ISO arrived at the school, held a joint meeting with the school administrators, RPC, RDCs, DPCs, DISOs, and other district leaders from Kyotera, Rakai, and Masaka.

These resolved to order all students to vacate the premise except candidates sitting their exams to allow considerable investigations.

Parents and affected families are in agony and trauma.

The fire that is said to have started a few minutes after midnight, also left over 30 badly injured, while others escaped with minor burns among other injuries

The deceased students include Charles Ssuuna, 16, Sam Nsubuga, 15, Tomity Bukenya, 16, Geoffrey Lutaaya, 21, Remegious Tamale, 16, Antonio Ssekitende, 15; Hudson Byamukama, 22, Emmanuel Kasozi, 15, Sharif Dodiye,15 and Maurice Basiita, 15.

The students nursing severe burns being moved to Kitovu Hospital (PML Daily PHOTO)

Other bodies, which were burnt beyond recognition have been taken to Mulago Hospital in Kampala for DeoxyriboNucleic Acid (DNA) test before handing them to their respective families.

But the Police and local rescuers fear that the death toll may rise considering that many of the injured students are in a critical condition.

The injured students are admitted in various health units including St. Bernard’s Health Centre, Rakai Hospital and Kalisizo Hospital

Others include Masaka Regional Referral Hospital and Kitovu. However, some parents have picked their student for speciliased treatment in Kampala.

Rakai District Police Commander, (DPC) Ben Kashumbusha, had earlier said investigators suspect that after being expelled from school, the students who were not happy with the decision by the management planned to revenge by collaborating with other people inside the school.

He said investigators have not clearly found out how culprits accessed the school.

He added that investigators suspect assailants coordinated with colleagues inside the school which made it easy for them to access the school.

One of the students receives treatment at St Bernards SS Mannya after a fire gutted the school in the wee hours of Monday Morning November 12, 2018

“On entering, the assailants who were armed with petrol and matchboxes first put padlocks on the dormitory’s door setting it ablaze,” he said.

He added that the police fire brigade had to break the padlock on the door in order to rescue some of the students from the raging fire.

According to Gerald Karasira, the Kifamba sub-county councillor, students and local rescuers struggled to unlock the padlocks.

He said several had died by the time they broke into the dormitories, while others suffocated due to heavy smoke that filled the rooms.

However, Henry Nsubuga, the school’s headmaster, said this is the first time to have such an incident.

He further suspects a group of six S.4 students that was expelled from school for misconduct, including bullying S.1s to be behind the incident

Meanwhile, the alumni community at St. Bernard’s ss Mannya, a school in Rakai district that was last night gutted by a fire has demanded an immediate inquiry into the tragic incident.

In a joint statement issued Monday afternoon, Mr. MukisaVicent the vice president of St. Bernard’s ss Mannya Old students Association (SBEMOSA) also demanded a meeting with school authorities including the Board of Governors and other stakeholders.

“As a matter of high-level concern, the executive committee of the association requests to hold a meeting with you (School Administration, B.O.G, Catholic Parish Leadership and OC Mannya) on 14th November 2018, 2:00 pm at the school to discuss the matter in detail and suggest viable solutions together,” Mukisa noted.

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