Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 September 2020

Kenya school stampede: at least 14 children killed

Police launch inquiry into the cause of the panic

Parents and teachers gather near the scene of a stampede at Kakamega Primary School in Kenya. Reuters
Parents and teachers gather near the scene of a stampede at Kakamega Primary School in Kenya. Reuters

At least 14 children died and dozens were injured in a stampede as they left their primary school in Kenya on Monday.

Local police have launched an inquiry into what caused the crowd of pupils to panic, leading to the crush about 5pm at Kakamega Primary School, in the west of the country.

After the incident, police cordoned off the school and took statements from teachers.

"We lost 14 of them. One life [lost] is a life too many," Kenyan education minister George Magoha told Citizen TV.

Local paper The Daily Nation reported that some of the children fell from the third floor as they ran down stairs.

Images on local media showed parents gathered in front of the emergency ward of a hospital in the town, waiting for news of their children.

One of the children's mothers blamed the teachers for the incident.

"Those who survived said they were running because there were teachers who were beating them and that is why they were escaping and fell on each other," she said.

The children were mostly in grade 5, aged between 10 and 12, she said.

The school did not immediately comment on the incident.

"We are devastated by the tragedy that has hit Kakamega Primary School this evening," Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto said on Twitter.

"Our prayers, love and thoughts are with the families and relatives of the victims of the misfortune."

The Kenya Red Cross said on Twitter that it would set up psychological support services and a "tracing desk" to help relatives find pupils who could have been affected.

The Red Cross said 39 children had been admitted to a local hospital.

St John's Ambulance tweeted that at least 14 students were killed and more than 50 injured, including two who were in an intensive care unit. About 37 pupils were treated at hospital and discharged.

The incident comes two days after 20 people were killed in a stampede at an open-air church service across the border in Tanzania.

In 2017, nine students were killed by a fire at a girls' high school in the Kibera neighbourhood of Kenya's capital Nairobi.

Updated: February 4, 2020 03:15 PM

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