Dozens lifeless in large pre-dawn fireplace in overcrowded Burundi jail

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A enormous fireplace ravaged an overcrowded jail in Burundi earlier than daybreak on Tuesday, killing dozens of inmates and significantly injuring many extra, the nation’s vice chairman stated.

Many detainees had been nonetheless sleeping when the fireplace destroyed a number of elements of the ability in Gitega, the political capital of Burundi, witnesses stated.

Vice President Prosper Bazombanza, who visited the scene of the tragedy with a number of senior ministers, instructed reporters 38 folks had been killed and 69 significantly injured.

The fireplace began round 4:00 a.m. (02:00 GMT). The Home Office stated on Twitter that it was {an electrical} brief circuit.

“We started screaming that we were going to be burned alive when we saw the flames go up very high, but the police refused to open the doors to our quarters saying ‘these are the orders we have received’,” he stated. declared a detainee reached by phone. instructed AFP.

“I don’t know how I escaped, but there are prisoners who were burnt to the ground,” he stated.

The most severely burned folks had been taken to hospital, some taken in police vans, whereas others with milder circumstances had been handled on the scene, witnesses stated.

Flames beneath management Burundi Red Cross groups had been on website to deal with the victims, and the flames have now been introduced beneath management, witnesses stated.

The almost 100-year-old facility, Burundi’s third largest, housed a variety of political prisoners in a high-security compound, and there was additionally a ladies’s wing.

In complete, there have been greater than 1,500 detainees at the tip of November, in accordance with jail administration figures, excess of its deliberate capability of 400.

A massive contingent of police and troopers surrounded the location and prevented journalists from approaching or taking photos, witnesses stated.

A police supply stated emergency companies arrived late on the scene, with a fireplace engine not arriving till two hours after the fireplace began.

The similar Gitega jail, situated in the center of the small nation, was hit by one other fireplace in August, in accordance with the Interior Ministry, which blamed it on {an electrical} brief circuit.

No casualties had been reported in consequence of this incident.

Chronic overcrowding is a downside in Burundian prisons, the place there have been a complete of round 12,400 inmates residing in lodging designed for 4,200, in accordance with October figures, regardless of a presidential amnesty in June that allowed launch. of 5,000 prisoners.

(AFP)

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