Some 38 inmates have died and 69 others injured following a fire outbreak at a prison in Burundi’s capital Gitega this week.
The fire razed Gitega’s central prison which according to sources was holding over one thousand inmates.
“The fire was caused by a short circuit and the fire brigade extinguished and controlled it immediately,” Burundi’s Vice President Prosper Bazombanza said in Gitega.
Gitega residents say that inmates raised the alarm before dawn as the majority tried to save themselves from the raging flames.
A government report showed that out of the 69 injured, 34 were rushed to the hospital while 35 had minor injuries and got treatment within the prison.
“There was a huge flame coming out of the prison. We couldn’t get closer to the place but we can see the damage is huge,” a resident in Gitega said.
“We are here outside waiting to get the news about our relatives who are still in the prison and we hope that we will be given the information soon because we are worried,” another resident said.
Immediately the fire outbreak was announced, Burundi’s ministers for Internal Affairs, Justice, Solidarity, and Health and the country’s Vice President rushed to the scene at the capital.
“The prison will be renovated as soon as possible and I call on those in boarding schools and barracks and others living in hostels to avoid wiring electricity without authorized technicians,” Vice President Prosper Bazombanza said.
In August this year, another fire at the prison was put out. Authorities revealed that a short circuit had caused the fire and there were no casualties.