38 prisoners confirmed dead as fire razed prison

By our reporter

NEWS– Burundi government authorities have confirmed that at least 38 people have died and scores injured in a fire which tore through a prison in Burundi.

Burundi Vice-President Prosper Bazombanza told journalists that the fire broke out in an overcrowded facility in the capital Gitega and left at least 69 people seriously injured.

One of the survivors who asked not to be named told the media that it is really catastrophic and said that almost 90% of sleeping halls are burnt.

A witness said that nurses from Gitega hospital have entered the prison to help the victims, saying they are taking out the dead and wounded.

The surviving inmates said they started shouting that they were going to be burned alive when they saw the flames rising very high, but the Police refused to open the doors of the quarters, saying that those are the orders we had received.

At the time of the fire the Gitega prison which was built to hold a capacity of 400 prisoners, had 1,539 inmates and Burundi’s interior ministry said a short circuit was to blame for the fire.

In August, another fire broke out at the same prison, which authorities also blamed on electrical problems.

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