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Firefight Fallout: Kasese Schools and Police at Odds

The sequence of fires at two schools in Kasese District has starkly revealed the inadequacies in the emergency response system and the schools’ observance of safety measures.

On the unique date of February 29, a blaze decimated a boys’ dormitory at Margherita Demonstration Primary School, annihilating the students’ belongings. Not long after, a second fire, purportedly triggered by an electrical short-circuit, inflicted significant damage on Bukangara Childcare Nursery and Primary School. These incidents have highlighted a concerning trend of insufficient and delayed response from the police when summoned to combat the fires.

Mr. Alfred Kule, the director of Bukangara Childcare, described a troubling scenario where the police arrived unprepared to tackle the fire. He also noted the late arrival of the police fire tanker, which came after local efforts to suppress the fire with soil had already been made.

Mr. Nixon Marahi, the head teacher at Margherita Demonstration Primary, accounted for the losses from the fire, including vital student necessities and structural damage. He asserted that the outcome could have been less severe with a quicker police response.

Following the incidents, a school director voiced his concerns about the police’s slow response and the government’s commitment to fire safety at a meeting with parents.

In defense, SP Nelson Tumushime, the regional police spokesperson, contested any claims of police inadequacy, suggesting that the schools were trying to shift the blame. He recognized the limitations in resources, highlighting that the region has only two firefighting units for a substantial area covering four police divisions.

SP Tumushime also criticized the schools for their non-compliance with the Ministry of Education and Sports’ safety guidelines, which include essential fire safety provisions. Mr. Emmy Kayiiri, the municipal education officer, supported this criticism and indicated that actions would be taken against schools that do not adhere to safety standards.

This account not only calls for an enhancement of emergency response strategies but also stresses the critical need for educational institutions to prioritize the safety and security of their students, ensuring that they are equipped to handle any emergencies.


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