Thirteen children killed in Kenya primary school stampede

Parents and teachers gather near the scene of a stampede at Kakamega primary school in Kakamega, Kenya. (Reuters)
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Updated 04 February 2020

Thirteen children killed in Kenya primary school stampede

  • Police have launched an inquiry into what caused the crowd of students to panic, leading to the crush
  • Kakamega’s police chief David Kabena: We lost 13 children in this stampede and others are in hospital due to injuries

NAIROBI: At least 13 children died and dozens of others were injured in a stampede as they left their primary school in Kenya on Monday, local police said, with investigators still trying to ascertain the cause of the tragedy.
The police have launched an inquiry into what caused the crowd of students to panic, leading to the crush at around 5:00 p.m. (1400 GMT) at the school in the western town of Kakamega.
In the aftermath of the stampede, the police cordoned off the school and took statements from the teaching staff.
Images broadcast by local media showed parents gathered in front of the emergency ward of a hospital in the town, waiting for news of their children.
“We lost 13 children in this stampede and others are in hospital due to injuries,” Kakamega’s police chief David Kabena told reporters at the scene.
“We have launched an investigation to establish what exactly happened,” he added.
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.
She said the children were mostly in grade five, aged between 10 and 12.
Corporal punishment is banned in Kenya.
The Kakamega Primary School did not immediately comment on the incident.
“We are devastated by the tragedy that has hit Kakamega Primary School this evening,” said Kenya’s Vice President William Ruto in a post on Twitter.
“Our prayers, love and thoughts to the families and relatives of the victims of the misfortune.”
Kenya Red Cross said on Twitter that it was setting up psychological support services, as well as a “tracing desk” to help relatives locate potentially affected students.
The Red Cross said 39 students had been admitted to a local hospital.
St. John’s Ambulance meanwhile tweeted that at least 14 students had been killed and more than 50 injured, including two who were in an intensive care unit. Some 37 had been treated and discharged from hospital.
The tragedy comes just two days after 20 people were killed in a stampede at an open-air evangelical Christian church service over the border in Tanzania.
In 2016, nine students were killed by a fire at a girls’ high school in the Kibera neighborhood of Kenya’s capital Nairobi.


Knifeman kills three in suspected terror attack at French church in Nice

Updated 9 min 32 sec ago

Knifeman kills three in suspected terror attack at French church in Nice

  • Two victims died at the Basilica of Notre-Dame while a third person died of injuries
  • Macron called for churches around the country to be given added security

NICE: A man wielding a knife at a church in the French city of Nice killed three people, slitting the throat of at least one, and injured several others before being apprehended by police, officials said Thursday.
French anti-terror prosecutors have opened an inquiry into what the city’s Mayor Christian Estrosi called an “Islamo-fascist attack.”
“He (the attacker) kept repeating ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Greater) even while under medication” after he was injured during his arrest, Estrosi told journalists at the scene.NIC

Video footage shows police entering the church in Nice where the attack is thought to have been carried out. (Twitter)

Two victims died at the Basilica of Notre-Dame, in the heart of the city on the Mediterranean coast, while a third person died of injuries after seeking refuge in a nearby bar, a police source told AFP.
“The situation is now under control,” police spokeswoman Florence Gavello said.
France has been on high alert for terror attacks since the January 2015 massacre at the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. The trial of suspected accomplices in that attack is underway in Paris. 

 

There have been unconfirmed reports that at least one of the victims was decapitated. (Twitter)

In Nice in particular, painful memories remain fresh of the jihadist attack during the Bastille Day fireworks on July 14, 2016, when a man rammed his truck into a crowded promenade, killing 86 people.
It was part of a wave of attacks on French soil, often by so-called “lone wolf” assailants, which has killed more than 250 people since 2015.

 

 

The attacker was captured by police and taken to hospital. (Twitter)

The assault prompted lawmakers in parliament to hold a minute’s silence on Thursday, before Prime Minister Jean Castex and other ministers abruptly left for an emergency meeting with President Emmanuel Macron.
Estrosi, who said Macron would soon be arriving in Nice, called for churches around the country to be given added security or to be closed as a precaution.
(With agencies)