20 Niger preschool children die in a school fire

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Rescuers hold a body after a fire at a Koranic school that killed at least 26 children and two teachers in Monrovia, Liberia, on September 18, 2019. - Emergency services told President George Weah that 28 people died on September 18, 2019 overnight, his spokesman Solo Kelgbeh told AFP, as the president visited the site in Paynesville, on the outskirts of the capital. (Photo by Zoom DOSSO / AFP) (Photo credit should read ZOOM DOSSO/AFP/Getty Images)

20 nursery school children died in Niger on Tuesday in a fire that trapped them in straw-hut classrooms.

“There were 20 deaths, most of them young children,” said the head of Niger’s fire service, Col. Bako Boubacar.

He said the origin of the fire in Niamey was unknown.

An official of a Niger’s teachers union said the school in the popular Pays Bas neighborhood had around 800 students, including children in the nursery section.

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“The fire apparently started around the school gate. Without an emergency exit, many were trapped and students were forced to scale the wall to escape.

”Those that died were mostly children in the preschool,” Mounkaila Halidou said.

Authorities had arrived at the scene and launched an investigation, the government said.

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