Myanmar launches probe into deadly school fire

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Myanmar policemen stand outside a mosque in Yangon.PHOTO: AP
Myanmar policemen stand outside a mosque in Yangon.PHOTO: AP

Myanmar has launched an official inquiry into a blaze at a Muslim school that killed 13 boys, state media said on Wednesday, as authorities sought to dismiss fears the fire was linked to religious unrest.

A seven-member commission is to set up a "probe into the death of the young boys" in the Yangon mosque complex, according to the English-language New Light of Myanmar, which said the group would present its findings by Friday.

The blaze early Tuesday spread fears among local Muslims that their community may have been targeted following a spate of Buddhist-Muslim killings and arson that has spread across central Myanmar in recent weeks.

But authorities have insisted the incident was a tragic accident, blaming an electrical fault and the inadequate response of two teachers who were sleeping at the school when the fire broke out.

"We have handed over evidence to the commission already and they will continue to investigate the case. It should be easy for them because we have found the cause," Myint Aye, head of local district police, told AFP.

He said one of the teachers was being questioned in custody, while police were still searching for the other man.

State media accused the detained man of falsely spreading rumours that the fire was started deliberately.AFP



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