An under-construction school collapsed in a densely populated district of Niger on Wednesday, killing at least 25 children, officials said.
“According to the mayor, around 22 students and the school security guard have died in the tragic incident,” the Education Ministry said in a statement.
The school fire occurred on the outskirts of Zinder, a city in the northern part of the West African nation.
“The building was being built on an old space which was no longer appropriate,” a local government official told Reuters. “The building collapsed when people were building staircases.”
In recent years, there have been several school fire incidents in Niger. In 2017, a fire swept through a school in Minawao, in the north of the country, killing at least 60 children.
Children in Niger are very vulnerable to unsafe schools and teachers are also threatened by the growing insecurity in the region.
Under its investment plan, the government aims to renovate 100,000 schools across the country by 2021.