A fire at a mosque housing orphans has killed at least 13 children. The fire comes amid heightened Buddhist-Muslim tension, but police have blamed the blaze on an electrical short circuit.
The fire began early Monday morning local time in eastern Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, witnesses and officials said.
Police officer Thet Lwin told the AP news agency that the blaze was caused by an overheated inverter “and not due to criminal activity.”
Thet Lwin added around 75 orphans lived in the mosque and that most had escaped by running out of a door police knocked open. It is not immediately clear how the 13 victims became trapped in the two-story building.
The structure housed a mosque and a religious school where children were staying while taking a summer class.
Safety standards are generally poor in the impoverished south Asian country.
The incident could strain already difficult relations between Buddhists and Muslims in the country. Sectarian violence between the two groups in the month of March killed dozens of people and displaced more than 10,000.
At least three trucks of riot police were deployed outside the mosque.
dr/hc (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)