It was a sombre mood at the Kampala Capital City Mortuary in Mulago on Thursday afternoon as government released the bodies of nine students who died in the Rakai school fire early this week.
Ten students died instantly and over 30 others sustained injuries after fire gutted the boys’ dormitory of St.Bernard Secondary School Mannya in Rakai district on Monday night.
On Thursday, some of the parents who had gathered at the city mortuary broke down as caskets containing the nine bodies were loaded onto waiting funeral service vehicles.
Speaking to Nile Post, Teo Aliganyira, the mother to Regemius Tamale, one of the deceased narrated the last time she heard from her son and the heartbreaking news of his death.
“He called me on Friday asking me for money for treatment for he was not feeling well. I asked him to call his dad about the same,”Aliganyira narrated as tears rolled down her cheeks.
She told this website that on the fateful day, she received a call from the school informing her that one of the boys’ dormitory had caught fire.
“I proceeded to the school but on reaching there, I could not trace my child. I was later told by his colleagues that Remegius had died in the fire.”
DNA tests confirm dead bodies
According to Dr.Moses Byaruhanga, the Director Police Health Services and chief police pathologist explained that that samples taken from the deceased’s parents were matched with those from the dead bodies.
“We carried DNA samples for nine bodies and these were matched with those from the field (parents) and the results were positive,”Dr.Byaruhanga said.
Asked the exact cause of death, the chief police pathologist said they had found out that the fire and smoke were too much killing the victims instantly.
“The bodies were burnt badly that you could not recognise them physically,”
He explained that because the bodies had been burnt beyond recognition, it took a long time before being released.
Sad moment for Uganda
The State Minister for Primary Education, Rosemary Seninde described it as a sad moment for the entire country and education sector for the loss of the students.
“It is sad that we lost tomorrow’s leaders. We pray this serves as a lesson to all schools to always take the security and safety of their students as the first priority,”Seninde said.
“Such scenarios should never happen to our schools.”
The junior education minister however urged parents to help nurture children well so they can become responsible citizens.
Owing to reports that the fire was started by some of the students suspended from the school, Seninde said it was appalling that young children could have such inhumane hearts.
“If they could do it to their fellow students, what of strangers? It is the responsibility of us as parents to ensure we nurture our children well.”
The bodies were later driven to the school in Rakai from where a requiem mass will be held before they are released to the respective families for burial.