Rakai school fire suspects remanded

Friday January 11 2019

Rakai school fire Activists demand suspect release

A group of human rights activists are calling for the immediate release of suspects who were arrested in the aftermath of the fire that claimed 11 lives of Senior Three students at St Bernard’s Secondary School, Mannya, Rakai District. 

By GERTRUDE MUTYABA

MASAKA. Grade One Magistrate in Masaka on Thursday remanded prime suspects in the school dormitory fire that claimed lives of 11 students at St Bernard’s SS Mannya in Rakai District.

It is alleged that four of the students and two security guards set ablaze the senior three dormitory on November 11, 2018.

Court presided over by his worship Christopher Tindyebwa Adyeri made an adjournment after prosecution led by Ms Victoria Ann Nanteeza told court that investigations into the matter are still ongoing.

The suspects are charged with 51 counts among which include; 10 of murder, 37 attempted murder, two of arson, and one of malicious damage to property, whereas the two security guards will be charged with neglect of duty negligence.

The trial magistrate set February 15 2019 for hearing.

According to eyewitnesses, the fire started at the entrance of senior three boys’ dormitory at about midnight and quickly spread to the next dormitory housing senior one students. The fire was escalated by the highly inflammable mattresses and the children’s personal belongings.

The fire fighters arrived four hours after the incident. The fire incident at St. Bernard SS Mannya was the third to be recorded in Masaka sub region last year.
On June 2, fire gutted a dormitory at Bishop Ddungu Primary School in Lwengo District and pupils’ property worth millions was destroyed to ashes.

In March, fire also gutted a dormitory at Greenhill Primary School in Kifuuta Village, Kitanda Sub-County in Bukomansimbi District, destroying pupils’ property also worth millions.

The most devastating school fire in the last decade occurred at Budo Junior School on April 14, 2008 which left 18 pupils and two adults dead.

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