A 15-year-old girl who is accused of having started a fire in a school dormitory in Guyana last week was charged with 19 murders.
The fire killed 18 mostly Indigenous girls and one five-year-old boy in a building in downtown Mahdia. The girl started the fire after her phone was confiscated, police said.
The girl is being held in Guyana’s juvenile detention center and the charges against her were formalized during a virtual hearing in the Magistrate’s Court.
In the early hours of May 22, students woke up to screams and saw flames and smoke in the dormitory bathroom area, police said in a statement.
Nearly 30 children were hospitalized while two critically ill girls were flown to New York on Saturday for further medical treatment.
Authorities have identified 13 victims through DNA tests, whose remains have been returned to their families for burial.
Dormitory fire alarm systems and school fire drills are being investigated, said Guyana’s Minister of Education Priya Manickchand.