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Dozens dead after fire tears through overcrowded prison in Burundi

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By AFP
Dozens dead after fire tears through overcrowded prison in Burundi

At least 38 people have been killed in a fire that tore through the central prison in Gitega, Burundi's capital, on Tuesday.

Witnesses said that the fire had completely destroyed entire sections of the prison, which was designed for 400 prisoners but was holding over 1,500.

The fire started at around 4 am while most of the prisoners were sleeping and detainees claimed that the guards refused to open cells.

"We started screaming that we were going to be burned alive when we saw the flames but the police refused to open the doors," said one detainee.

"I don't know how I escaped but there are prisoners who did not."

Burundi's ministry of interior said that the fire had been started by a short circuit.