Officials said that a teenager is accused of setting a fire that killed 19 fellow students in Guyana.
She was angry that her phone was taken away as punishment for seeing an older man, police said.
According to the fire service, doors had been locked overnight to prevent girls from sneaking out.
Officials say that a dormitory blaze that killed 19 children in Guyana was set by a teenage student who was upset that her cell phone had been taken away. The fire broke out at the Mahdia Secondary School in the South American country late on Sunday. A Guyana Fire and Rescue Service statement said the blaze was “maliciously set.”National Security Adviser Gerald Gouveia said that the suspect in the incident, a pupil at the school, was accused of setting the dorm on fire after being disciplined for having a liaison with an older man.
A female student is suspected of having set the devastating fire because the dorm mother and a teacher took away her cellular phone,” said Mark Ramotar, Guyana Police’s communications chief.
The Guyanese diaspora extended their heartfelt condolences to their homeland. Omar Farouk, President of the International Muslims Organization based in Toronto, Canada, issued a statement.
“The members and supporters of the International Muslim Organization (IMO), we express our deepest sympathies to President Irfaan Ali, the Guyana government and its people for the tragic loss of young high schoolers in this horrific fire. We learned of this devastating incident with great sadness, and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who lost their lives.
We cannot imagine the pain and grief that you are going through at this difficult time. We sincerely offer our condolence to the victims’ families and the Guyanese community. We know this tragedy has left a deep scar on the hearts of all those who knew and loved these young students.
Please know that you are not alone in your sorrow. We stand with you in solidarity and offer our support in any way we can. We hope that you find comfort in the memories of those who have passed and that you find strength in the love and support of your community.
May the souls of the departed rest in peace; we pray for speedy healing for the injured, and we ask Almighty God to help you find the courage to heal and move forward from this tragedy.”
Imam Saffraz Bacchus of Masjid Aberdeen in New York said: “In times of tragedy, people cope in various ways – our coping mechanisms may differ. Our faith sometimes plays a significant role, and also by our love for one another- our support – our kind words- letting the people who are afflicted know that they have a shoulder to lean on- today, we gather because of that love – I don’t know these kids, but I seem to stop thinking about them- as I sometimes talk about this tragic incident, I tear up. I cry because I think there aren’t enough words to comfort the mothers, parents, and guardians who have lost their children; I cry because I consider how traumatized the survivors are and the difficult road ahead of them; and I cry because I think about how they were robbed of a future that they were trying to shape. Finally, I cry because I consider how I would react if it were my loved one. Their lives and their passing will be a part of our lives; they will be recognized in our present and future endeavours. May the memories of the deceased serve as a source of solace and comfort in the days to come.”