At least eight students killed in Nairobi school fire

Raila mourns death of students in school fire

Moi Girls High School Nairobi

Kenyan authorities have ruled that a weekend fire at a dormitory in the capital Nairobi that left nine girls dead was the result of arson, not an accident.

The girl, who is in Form One, said during the commotion, electricity went off even as the fire spread and the smoke engulfed the dormitory.

Minister Fred Matiang'i said some arson attacks had been related to fights over staff appointments in schools, where senior positions can bring financial rewards.

The police, he said, were pursuing different angles, among them whether the fire was caused by an arsonist or an electricity fault. "First by drinking a detergent and, second by trying to suffocate herself using a pillow", said the source.

A statement from his office on Saturday evening said the death toll had risen from seven to eight.

The families affected, as well as the school and all who wish it well, can be sure that we will investigate the matter fully, and act appropriately, so that this sort of tragedy doesn't recur.

Numerous fires are set by students in protest at harsh discipline, poor teaching and corruption, according to Canadian Elizabeth Cooper, assistant professor of International Studies at Simon Fraser University.

In one case, boys had drained water tanks and cut phone lines before setting fire to their principal's vehicle and pushing it into his home. It was not clear how many fires were deliberate. Others choked and fainted as they were heading out and we pulled those that we could.

One of the students said the dormitory will always hold bad memories for her.

Police have assured the public that specific suspects would be known very soon as investigations are intensified.

This came even as parents, teachers and government officials converged on the school on Sunday.

Those who unfortunately died in the inferno would be identified after DNA tests as they were burnt beyond recognition. The gate, however, remained closed to journalists and the public.

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