At least 38 people are killed and 69 others seriously injured after a fire outbreak in a jam-packed prison in Gitega, capital of Burundi today, December 7, 2021, Burundi’s Vice President, Prosper Bazombanza stated.
The Interior Ministry of Burundi via Twitter tweeted that the cause of the fire was an electrical short-circuit. The incident happened in the early hours of the morning around 4 am while most inmates were asleep.
Incendie dû à un court-circuit maîtrisé par @Burundi_Police à la prison centrale de @Gitega : 38 prisonniers morts et 69 autres blessés. Le Vice-président de la République + les ministres du @MininterInfosBi, @MiniJustice_BDI, @minisante et @GenreMinistere au chevet des victimes pic.twitter.com/h1wJtzijjQ
— MininterInfosBi (@MininterInfosBi) December 7, 2021
A survivor said “We started shouting that we were going to be burned alive when we saw the flames rising very high, but the police refused to open the doors of our quarters, saying ‘these are the orders we have received’.
“I don’t know how I escaped, but there are prisoners who were burned completely,” he told The Guardian.
The prison housed about 1500 people at the end of November, above the required capacity of 400 inmates.