Teased boys held in fa­tal fire at school

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian po­lice said Satur­day that they have ar­rested seven boys sus­pected of in­ten­tion­ally start­ing a fire at an Is­lamic board­ing school that killed 23 people be­cause stu­dents there had teased them.

Kuala Lumpur po­lice chief Amar Singh said the boys, ages 11-18, were rounded up since Fri­day night after they were iden­ti­fied in CCTV footage from a neigh­bor­ing build­ing that showed them near the school the night of the fire.

The pre-dawn blaze Thursday at a three-story “tah­fiz” school, where Mus­lim boys study and mem­o­rize the Ko­ran, blocked the only exit to the dor­mi­tory on the top floor, trap­ping stu­dents be­hind barred win­dows. Two adults and 21 stu­dents, ages 6-17, were killed.

“From our in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the mo­tive be­hind the mis­chief was due to a mis­un­der­stand­ing after the sus­pects and some tah­fiz stu­dents mocked each other a few days be­fore the fire,” Singh said at a tele­vised news con­fer­ence.

He said it is be­lieved that two cook­ing gas tanks were taken to the top floor and used to start the fire, which spread rapidly and took fire­fight­ers an hour to ex­tin­guish.

Singh said the seven are all school dropouts and will be un­der po­lice re­mand for a week. He said the case has been clas­si­fied as mur­der and mis­chief by fire.

AP/DANIEL CHAN

Amar Singh (cen­ter), the po­lice chief of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and mem­bers of his staff dis­play the be­long­ings of de­tained sus­pects Satur­day at po­lice head­quar­ters dur­ing a news con­fer­ence about last week’s fa­tal fire at a board­ing school.

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