Six Detained After Turkish Dormitory Fire Kills Schoolgirls

Authorities in southern Turkey, detained six people on Wednesday over a fire in a dormitory that killed 11 schoolgirls and one other person, the state-agency said.

Flames swept through the mostly wooden interior of the two-storey dormitory in the town of Aladag late on Tuesday, causing the roof to collapse.

European Affairs Minister Omer Celik, a ruling AK Party lawmaker who represents the surrounding province in the national parliament, said the suspected cause was an electrical fault.

But the opposition complained of lax regulation and criticised an education policy that has seen a growing number of such dormitories set up to house poor students from villages where there are no state schools.

Local media said the dormitory was run by one of the several religious movements in Turkey that operate such facilities. Elif Dogan Turkmen, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party, said she had unsuccessfully tabled several proposals in parliament to improve the inspection and supervision of such buildings.

“The AKP has abandoned all state authority on education to religious movements and cults,” Turkmen told Reuters. “They throw children from poor families into the lap of cults by not building dormitories themselves.”

Local mayor Huseyin Sozlu was quoted by the Hurriyet newspaper as saying the door to a fire escape was shut, trapping some of the victims inside. But Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak denied that was the case.

“The initial information passed on from investigators and our prosecutor suggests there was no lock on the door,” he said.

Kaynak rejected claims of insufficient inspections, saying the building had been audited in June as well as last year and that it had the necessary license.

The fire began on the ground floor but quickly spread through wooden fixtures and carpets, according to a CNN Turk correspondent who said children had smashed windows on the upper floor as they tried to escape.

Twenty-four people, many of them schoolgirls, were injured. One of the people detained was the dormitory manager.

Such incidents are not uncommon in Turkey. In 2008, an explosion triggered by a gas leak in a religious preparatory school in the central province of Konya killed 18 girls and wounded 29. Charges were brought against the dormitory manager and other officials but the case is ongoing.

Credit: NAN

Six Abducted Chibok Schoolgirls ‘Dead’

Six of the 219 Chibok schoolgirls abducted in 2014 by Boko Haram are dead, activists and local officials have quoted one of the girls rescued Tuesday as saying.

Nineteen-year-old Amina Nkek was rescued in Kulakaisa village at the fringes of Sambisa forest, by a Chibok vigilante group, the sources said.

A source familiar with the rescue said Ms. Nkek was breast feeding a child.

After she was taken to Chibok, where she was identified by her parents, Ms. Nkek told the community leaders that “all the girls are in Sambisa forest, but six of them had died”, a source said.

The source quoted Ms. Nkek as saying that the remaining girls were “well secured and protected” to stop the Nigerian Army from rescuing them.

He added that the girl was taken to the army unit in Damboa, Borno state.

The army said in a statement that “one of the abducted chibok school girls, Falmata Mbalala, was among the rescued persons by our troops at Baale near Damboa”.

The statement, signed by army spokesperson, Sani Usman, did not say why the names differed.

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Three Rescued Ikorodu Schoolgirls Recovering

The three female students of Babington Macaulay Junior Seminary (BMJS) who were rescued from kidnappers on Sunday are recovering, it was learnt yesterday.

Oluwatimilehin Olusa, Tofunmi Popoolaniyan and Deborah Akinayo were rescued by the police at Igbo-Okuta Bridge, after spending six days in the Adamo creeks, Ikorodu with their abductors..

The teenagers, who were on Sunday, initially taken to their school to be reunited with their parents, were conveyed in a white school bus to the hospital inside the Police College, Ikeja, for medical examination.

It was learnt that the traumatised girls, are undergoing therapy, surrounded by their parents and loved ones.

Oluwatimilehin’s father, Ven. Victor Ayo Olusa, who is also the Excutive Secretary of the Anglican Schools’ Management Board, said medical examination had been conducted on the teenagers.

He said the girls were recovering, adding:

“No, they have not resumed school yet and all three of them are in the same location. They are in the country.

“Like any other person, we were in a state of anxiety and tension when they were held hostage. It was unimaginable and very traumatic.

“But as Christians, we were optimistic.  We had faith that they would come back. We believed that no matter how bleak a situation, God will intervene.

“The girls were traumatised when they were rescued. It was not easy for them. Imagine someone who is used to sleeping on the bed to start sleeping in a place that is not conducive.”

“They are recuperating. Yes, medical examination has been conducted on them. They are happy being surrounded by their loved ones but at times, they feel down when they remember that they were isolated.

“All three of them are classmates. We do not want to subject them to anything that will make them recall while they were in captivity,” he said.

Credit: Nation

Gov. Ahmed Advises Schoolgirls On Healthy Living

Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara, on Friday, urged schoolgirls to abstain from sedentary lifestyles that could expose them to cancerous diseases in future.

The governor gave the advice at the inauguration of Life Empowers Anchors Hope (LEAH), a cancer school club, as part of activities to mark the 2015 International Day of the Girl-child held in Ilorin.

The International Day of the Girl Child is being celebrated on Oct. 11, following UN General Assembly’s adoption of Resolution 66/170 on Dec. 19, 2011, to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.

The governor, who was represented by the state’s Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hajiya Ayinke Saka, urged girls to be upright, obedient and respectful.

He also urged them to report any act of sexual abuse or molestation to the appropriate school authorities.

Ahmed warned girls against sexual activities at tender age, saying early exposure to sex could make them prone to cervical cancer later in life.

He also urged parents to always show love and care to their children, especially the females.

In her remarks, Mrs Omolewa Ahmed, wife of the governor, pledged her support toward the emancipation of the girl-child.

She encouraged school children to report any act of molestation toward them to authorities, adding that appropriate authorities had been put in place to promptly address the situation.

Also, the Deputy National President, National Association of Women Journalists, Hajiya Bilqees Oladimeji, said that the International Day of Girl-child was to encourage individuals and organisations to address issues concerning the girl-child.

In her comments, a legal practitioner, Mrs Biola Adimula, said there was the need to inculcate discipline, guidance and training in a girl-child, as well as protect them from discrimination and harmful practices.

According to her, the Child Right Act provides that every child deserves a right to survival, development, protection and participation.

 

 

(NAN)