By J. Kariuki, G. Ayesiga and A. Ssengendo
FIRE gutted dormitories at Mariam High School in Kisasi, Kampala and Kibubura Girls Secondary School in Ibanda on Thursday night.
At Mariam High a man camouflaging in a long skirt, with cornrows and school T-shirt was caught on the school premises shortly after the fire broke out at about 9:00pm. He allegedly had matchboxes and pieces of paper, according to Kampala Extra Police spokesman Simeo Nsubuga.
The suspect, Geoffrey Mutyaba, 32, a resident of Kisaasi, is now in Police custody. The Police rescued him from a mob that threatened to lynch him after he asked for directions out of the school compound. The school is an all girls school.
â€œWe have not yet established the cause of the fire but we are holding a suspect at Kira Road Police Station as we continue with investigations,â€ said Nsubuga.
The RDC Kawempe Division, Edward Ssekabanja, who was at the scene, said the five students were rushed to Mulago Hospital after they fainted when the S1 and S3 dormitories caught fire. Five others sustained minor injuries in the process of rescuing their colleagues and property at the school, said Police.
By the time Saturday Vision reached the scene after 10:00pm, the Fire Brigade was still battling the fire that left mattresses and suitcases reduced to ashes.
â€œI have lost everything,â€ sobbed 14-year-old Esther Naava an S2 student at the school. Students said they first saw smoke while returning from prayers after breaking their fast. The school is an Islamic school.
The head teacher, Hadijja Mayanja, assured parents that all the students had been accounted for after the school carried out a rollcall.
Meanwhile, at Kibubura Girls Secondary School in Ibanda, fire gutted two dormitories housing 174 students. It started at about 7:45pm, minutes after students had gone for preps.
According to headmistress Monica Mbabazi Mabanga, the fire broke out in New Dorm A, which house 81 students, before spreading to New Dorm B which houses 93 students. It was too much to be managed using the schoolâ€™s fire extinguishers, said the headmistress.
None of the students was burnt but all their properties perished. An S2 student who was in the dormitory sick, was rescued from the burning dormitory by a teacher.
The headmistress urged students to remain calm and concentrate on their studies since this is third term.