Mock­ing led to re­venge and death of 23 at school

The Star Malaysia - - Front Page - By JASTIN AHMAD TARMIZI, YIMIE YONG and M KU­MAR

The fire at the Darul Qu­ran It­ti­faqiyah school that killed 23 peo­ple was an act of re­venge by sev­eral teenagers, all of them out­siders, who were an­gered at be­ing mocked. The ar­son­ists were be­lieved to have taken petrol and cook­ing gas cylin­ders to the school and set the build­ing on fire. There is also a video that showed some­one sneak­ing into the school.

KUALA LUMPUR: Mock­ing be­tween stu­dents of Darul Qu­ran It­ti­faqiyah tah­fiz school and a group of lo­cal teenagers in Jalan Datuk Kera­mat led to the re­venge ar­son at­tack which killed 23 stu­dents and teach­ers of the school.

Seven aged be­tween 11 and 18 have been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the fire early on Thurs­day.

City po­lice Chief Comm Datuk Amar Singh said the teenagers were picked up be­tween 6pm on Fri­day and 2.30am yes­ter­day.

He said in­sults ex­changed be­tween the youths and the stu­dents early in the week was be­lieved to be the trig­ger that led to the tragic fire.

“In­ves­ti­ga­tions re­vealed that their mo­tive was to burn the school. Their ba­sic in­tent was to cause mis­chief by fire.

“But maybe be­cause of their age, they didn’t know that their ac­tions would lead to the fi­nal re­sult,” he said adding that there was a pos­si­bil­ity that the sus­pects were “high” dur­ing the in­ci­dent.

Comm Amar also con­firmed that two gas cylin­ders were brought from the lower floor to the top floor of the build­ing where the fire started and that an ac­cel­er­ant was also used.

The 5.15am fire at the tah­fiz school re­sulted in the death of 21 stu­dents and two teach­ers. Six other stu­dents were in­jured.

He said po­lice also seized five shirts, five pants, four hel­mets and three mo­tor­cy­cles from the sus­pects.

He added that six of the seven sus­pects also tested pos­i­tive for ganja and checks showed that two of them had pre­vi­ous crim­i­nal records.

Comm Amar said the seven were school dropouts liv­ing nearby the area.

Comm Amar added that the seven have been re­manded for seven days start­ing yes­ter­day.

He said that the case was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for mur­der, mis­chief by fire, sud­den death and fire re­port.

Asked whether any fuel was found on the clothes of the sus­pects that were seized, Comm Amar said: “I can only con­firm that five pairs of cloth­ing and pants were seized to un­dergo hy­dro­car­bon anal­y­sis.

“We have com­pleted the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and with the ar­rests, I can con­firm that the case is solved and there would not be any more ar­rests,” he said.

Comm Amar also con­firmed that one of the sus­pects was caught on CCTV footage that went vi­ral on so­cial me­dia.

He also urged peo­ple to stop spread­ing in­for­ma­tion about the case on so­cial me­dia as it would af­fect the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The po­lice an­nounce­ment shocked par­ents of those who died in the fire.

“I could not be­lieve that the fire was an act of ar­son, as I pre­vi­ously thought it could have been due to a short cir­cuit,” said Siti Sal­fari Is­mail who lost a 10-year-old son Muham­mad Aidil Aq­mal Mohd Zamzuri.

She said what was even more shock­ing was the rev­e­la­tion that the sus­pects were teenagers.

“This is so cruel to my son and his friends. So many of them lost their lives. I can­not be­lieve some­one would do this,” Siti Sal­fari said.

She learnt about the news through her friends work­ing at the po­lice sta­tion.

The griev­ing mother said she hoped those in­volved would get their just pun­ish­ment if they were proven guilty.

She also said her son was happy study­ing at the tah­fiz school and had never com­plained about any un­to­ward in­ci­dents.

Ahmad Nor Ramli, the fa­ther of 13-year-old Muham­mad Hazim, said he would leave the mat­ter to the po­lice.

“I hope the po­lice will find the truth and jus­tice will pre­vail,” he said.

He also said his son had never com­plained about any dis­agree­ment in­volv­ing the stu­dents at the school.

No­rakma Aini Rus­lan, 29, the mother of 14-year-old victim Muham­mad Daniel Md Amin said, “I hope those in­volved will get the pun­ish­ment they de­served.” Po­lice: Youths started fire af­ter be­ing in­sulted by tah­fiz stu­dents

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