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At least 20 children are dead after they became trapped when their school caught on fire.

The blaze occurred at a school in the capital of Niger, Niamey. It began late Tuesday afternoon, during a time when many children were present for lessons. A good portion of these classes taking place in straw-hut classrooms.

Due to flames blocking the school gate, students had to climb over a wall to safety.

Many younger students, specifically those attending the school’s nursery, were incapable of scaling the wall and thus perished in the fire.

A total of 28 straw classrooms were destroyed in the fire, and 30 of the school’s permanent classrooms were also damaged.

A parent who lost his six-year-old son in the fire is now pleading for the government to take a progressive approach and make sure nothing like this happens again.

“Let’s not put everything in the hands of God, let’s not put everything in the hands of the state,” he said. “We have lost 20 children in a fraction of a second – we must call on the state to say that hut classes should no longer exist anywhere in the country.”

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