Officials in Niger have confirmed that a massive fire has killed at least 25 schoolchildren in the town of Agadez. The blaze reportedly took hold of the Institut Jaounde secondary school in the town on Friday. The blaze was believed to have started in the dormitory where the children were staying, although the exact cause has not yet been established. Many have been injured, however, as smoke has prevented many children from escaping the inferno, with many rescued by relatives. A total of 160 children were at the school at the time of the fire, with 44 rescued.
The Nation reported that some of the children have alleged that authorities waited hours to inform the parents that their children were unaccounted for. One unnamed parent told the Associated Press that the children were beginning to get hungry and thirsty despite the lack of food and water in the area. While it is currently unclear whether this was the actual cause of the fire, the official response from local officials has since led to the arrest of two town heads, although it is not yet clear if they are to blame for the incident.
Read the full story at the New York Times.
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