Uganda arrests students for suspected arson attack

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Police in southern Uganda have arrested three students thought to have been involved in setting fire to a school dormitory where nine students died.

Reports suggest the fire began early on Monday morning at a block that housed dozens of students from St Bernard Secondary School in Rakai.

Police say the suspect students, who had been suspended from the school for bringing alcohol to the institution, locked up the dormitory from outside trapping their schoolmates, and set the building alight.

Some 30 students have been admitted to hospital with injuries.

Police say they are having to do DNA testing to identify some of the bodies which are said to have been burnt beyond recognition.

They also say they are still looking for six alleged co-conspirators.

Damage done by school dormitory fires is usually aggravated by overcrowding, which hampers rescue efforts.

The rescue team had to use, “a hoe to break the padlock to save the lives of children who had been locked in the dormitory,” Irene Nakasiita, Co-ordinator Communications and Public Relations, at Uganda Red Cross told the BBC.

In 2008, a dormitory fire at a primary school near the capital Kampala killed 20 pupils.

A wave of school fires followed shortly after that, but there have been fewer in recent years.

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