By Olimatou Coker
At least six students at Bilal Boarding School for Qur’anic Memorisation in Yundum died in a fire incident on Saturday night.
Seven other students were taken to the EFSTH and Kanifing General Hospital. The affected students are all boys aged 12 above.
Speaking to The Standard, school proprietor Essa Muhammed Jawara, said he was called on the telephone around 2am and informed that one of the boarding rooms was engulfed in fire.
“This fire here today really troubles me a lot. I can’t call it an electricity failure. I can say the room was set on fire by someone but it is not an electricity failure as the switches are beyond the reach of the students,” he said.
According to him, in September last year, a fire incident occurred but there were no casualties.
Jawara appealed to the parents of dead children “to take heart and know that this is the doing of God”.
“This memorisation school has been here for 20 years but nothing like this happened here” .
Adama Jadama, a parent of one of the fire victims, said she was called by one Oustadh Drammeh and informed that her son was involved in a fire accident.
“This accident is very painful because when I went to the hospital, I saw my son lying helplessly in such pain… It is very painful for me,” she moaned.
Baboucarr Diko, a younger brother to Mustapha Diko who is hospitalised said: “ I went to the restroom upon return I met fire in our room and was trying to wake my brother Mustapha and our others but they were in a deep sleep. I and my colleague Omar ran to alert Oustadh Muhammed”.
Omar Camara, a student said he woke up to see the door curtains aflame.
“I am very sad and shocked because we are close friends here. My friends have died, now I am going to be so alone,” he lamented.
By the time we went to press last night, the Fire & Rescue Services were not available for immediate comment.