At least 25 children killed in Niger school fire

KANAR, Niger – At least 25 children were killed in a school fire in Niamey on Thursday, authorities said, the latest disaster to befall Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries.

The blaze broke out at the Ibn Rabb Islam school, one of many compounds housing hundreds of people, in the western part of the capital.

“Some children were injured and 15 were taken to the hospital,” the education ministry said in a statement, noting that several of those injured had since been discharged.

On Thursday morning, a crowd of angry parents gathered outside the school, one of the largest and most expensive to operate in the capital, demanding answers about the fire, which residents said left children burned to death in classrooms.

Police said authorities were investigating the cause of the fire, which they said appeared to have started in a kitchen.

Niger has had a string of disasters this year, in areas that are particularly vulnerable to flooding and mudslides, in the capital and throughout the rest of the country.

In May, 116 people died in floods that washed through the western region of Agadez. In April, more than 40 people were killed in flooding in the country’s southwest, a region that is especially prone to floods.

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