38 killed, 69 injured in Burundi prison fire

Tuesday December 07 2021

At least 38 inmates killed and 69 injured following a fire outbreak at a prison in Burundi’s capital Gitega on December 7, 2021. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


At least 38 inmates have been killed and 69 injured following a fire outbreak at a prison in Burundi’s capital Gitega early Tuesday morning. 

The fire razed Gitega’s central prison which sources say was holding more than one thousand inmates.

“The fire was caused by a short circuit and fire brigade extinguished and controlled it immediately,” said Burundi’s Vice President Prosper Bazombanza in Gitega.

According to residents in Gitega, inmates raised the alarm before dawn as they tried to save themselves from the raging flames. 

The government said that out of the 69 injured, 34 were rushed to the hospital while 35 had minor injuries and were treated inside the prison. 

“There was a huge flame coming out of the prison. We couldn’t get closer to the place but we can see the damage is huge,” said a resident in Gitega.


“We are here outside waiting to get the news about our relatives who are still in the prison and we hope that we will be given the information soon because we are worried,” another resident said. 

Following the fire outbreak, Burundi’s ministers for Internal Affairs, Justice, Solidarity, and Health and the country’s Vice President rushed to the capital to the scene.

“The prison will be renovated as soon as possible and I call on those in boarding schools and barracks and others living in hostels to avoid wiring electricity without authorised technicians,” Vice President Prosper Bazombanza  said.

In August, another fire at the prison was put out. Authorities said that a short circuit caused the fire and there were no causalities.