14 children killed, 39 injured in a stampede at school
At least 14 children were killed and dozens injured in a stampede at a primary school in Kenya when they were let out to go home.
The pupils, mostly aged between 10 and 12, are said to have been crushed as they ran down a narrow staircase at Kakamega Primary School after lessons.
One mother claims the children were running away from teachers who were beating them while other reports suggested the staircase had collapsed.
Distressing scenes showed parents collapsing in grief after identifying their children’s bodies in local hospitals.
Education minister George Magoha confirmed that 14 children had lost their lives.
At least 39 other children were injured, including two who were in intensive care.
He said: ‘The loss of a child is very painful. My condolences to parents who have lost their children.’
Peter Abwao, a spokesman for Red Cross Kenya, said: ‘As kids were going home from school there was a stampede as they were going down the stairs.
‘It’s a three-storey building, it’s a classroom block.’
According to www.dailymail.co.uk, in the aftermath of the stampede, the police cordoned off the school and took statements from the teaching staff.
Kakamega’s police chief David Kabena said: ‘We have launched an investigation to establish what exactly happened.’
One of the children’s mothers blamed the teachers.
‘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,’ the mother said in an interview with local media.
Corporal punishment is banned in Kenya.
Kakamega area regional commissioner Anne Ngetich ruled out that a ‘scare’ had sparked the stampede.
‘I know there are people who might think these children always use the same entrance and exits, what might have happened today? Was there an explosion?’ she said. ‘No there was nothing, nothing physical that we have established.’
Kenya Red Cross said it was setting up psychological support services, as well as a ‘tracing desk’ to help relatives locate potentially affected students.
Safety in school has become a major concern for Kenyan parents.
Source: www.daily mail.co.uk