DOUALA: Eleven newborn babies died in a fire in the neonatal unit of a hospital in the western Senegalese city of Tivaouane, the country’s president said late Wednesday.

“I have just learned with pain and dismay about the deaths of 11 newborn babies in the fire that occurred in the neonatal department of Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in Tivaouane. To their mothers and their families, I express my deepest sympathy,” Anadolu Agency quoted Macky Sall as saying on Twitter.

The fire was caused by a short circuit, according to Diop Sy, the mayor of Tivaouane, local media reported.

“It is the neonatal unit that was consumed by flames. The tragedy occurred around 8 pm,“ said local news site

Local authorities have activated a crisis unit pending an evaluation of the situation.

The fire follows one that killed four infants at a maternity hospital in Linguere in the north of the country in April 2021. The city’s mayor had cited an electrical malfunction of an air conditioning unit as the cause. - Bernama