School fire leaves many children dead in Liberia


At least 27 people, many of them children, have been killed in a fire at a boarding school in a suburb of the Liberian capital Monrovia.

The fire is believed to have broken out in the early hours of the morning, when Koranic school students were sleeping in a building near their mosque.

Police have told the BBC that they are still looking for bodies in the building in the Paynesville area.

President George Weah has tweeted his condolences to bereaved families.

The president’s spokesman said Mr Weah would attend the funerals later on Wednesday.

Police spokesman Moses Carter told Reuters news agency that the fire was caused by an electrical issue, but investigations are continuing.

Eyewitness Pastor Emmanuel Herbert told the BBC that he woke up to sounds of the fire and raised the alarm.

“When I looked through the window, I saw the whole place blazing with fire,” he told the BBC.

But he said he could not get into the building because there was only one entrance, which was blocked.

Officials told AFP news agency that the victims were 10 years old and above.

Our correspondent Jonathan Paye-Layleh reports that Red Cross ambulances have already taken bodies away from the scene.

He adds large crowds gathered near the school in the wake of the disaster and people wailed and wept as the ambulances tried to get through.

Image caption

Large crowds gathered near the school in the wake of the disaster

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