There have been two previous attempts by a group of undisciplined students to start a fire at St Bernard’s S.S Manya in Rakai district where 8 students died in a fire on Sunday night, according to the Member of Parliament for Kooki county, Ninsiima Boaz Kasirabo.
On Sunday night, unidentified people set a dormitory at St Bernard’s S.S Many a ablaze leaving 8 students dead and 25 nursing injuries in hospital.
It is said that the arsonists used petroleum to start the fire at the dormitory where 58 students were sleeping. Security Minister, Gen Elly Tumwine who visited the scene of crime on Monday afternoon told journalists that the arsonists first locked the dormitory with 2 padlocks before torching it.
So far, three students and a school warden have already been arrested to aid investigations.
The MP for Kooki county, Ninsiima Boaz Kasirabo in an interview with NTV Uganda on Monday said that a group of “very undisciplined” students who were recently dismissed from the school are suspected to have been involved in Sunday’s tragic incident.
“We suspect some undisciplined students who were expelled from the school. I don’t know how they developed such envy and anger to the extent of burning the school,” the legislator said.
The said students were dismissed by the school administration for “wrong doing”, according to MP Ninsiima, including fighting. As a result, they were forced to change their residence from inside the school to commuting from their homes.
“There were several attempts to burn the school. In one incident, they locked up a Reverend Father in his house and wanted to torch it,” the MP revealed.
“The other incident, they locked up students and started a fire, but then they felt sympathy and let them go,” he added.
The legislator faulted security agencies for not taking these previous attempts by the said students as serious security risks.
“It is bad that security did not take this seriously. Security didn’t do what it was supposed to do”.
On the other hand, he noted that this laxity could have been due to the circumstances which were “strange” to settings like Rakai where school fires have not been common in the past.
The dead students have been identified as Antonio Ssozi, Sam Nsubuga, Antonio Sekitende, Hudson Byamukama, Charles Suuna, Emma Kasozi, Maurice Basiita, Sharif Toyita, Timothy Bukenya and a one Jjunju.
Several other property including mattresses, suit cases, clothes and books among other scholastic materials were destroyed in the fire.
Gen Elly Tumwine during his visit on Monday urged schools to draw lessons from the fire at St Bernard’s S.S on taking security precautions.
“The important thing is the lessons learnt on the security aspect for schools and the country as a whole. We always learn from every situation,” the Minister said.
The incident happened hours before Senior Six candidates sat their first exam of the Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE).