At least 20 children have died after they became trapped in a fire at a school in Niger’s capital, Niamey.
It started late on Tuesday afternoon when the children were in lessons, many in straw-hut classrooms.
The flames blocked the school gate, so most pupils had to escape over a wall, said a teacher’s union official quoted by Reuters.
Most of those who did not manage to escape were attending the school’s nursery, officials say.
The government-run junior and pre-school in the Pays Bas district of the city had a mixture of brick and straw classrooms, BBC Hausa’s Tchima Illa Issoufou reports from Niamey.
In total 28 straw classrooms were completely destroyed and some of the school’s 30 permanent classrooms were also damaged, she says. The fire also raged through some of the brick classrooms
Straw classrooms are often built as overflow areas for lessons in schools when there are not enough brick ones, our reporter says.
Fire service commander Sidi Mohamed told public television that firefighters attended the scene quickly, but “the power of the fire was enormous”, the AFP news agency reports.
Parents were waiting at the Pays Bas Primary School on Wednesday morning to find out about arrangements for burying their children, our reporter says.
Muslim burials usually take place within 24 hours of a death.
Prime Minister Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou has been to the school, on the edge of the capital, to offer his condolences.
Teachers’ union official Mounkaila Halidou said there were about 800 students attending the school.
“Those who died were mostly in the pre-school,” he said.
It is not yet clear what caused the fire.