Case solved with the arrest of seven youths, with the motive of the arson believed to be revenge following name-calling incident that angered the teenagers.
- Seven male suspects aged 11-18
- Six tested positive for drugs
- Two had police records – one for rioting, another for theft of a vehicle
- Some are school leavers
- Others were schoolboys at nearby schools
Police today declared that no other arrests would be made in the probe into the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah school fire that killed 21 students and two teachers, following the arrest of seven teenagers.
City police chief Amar Singh said the suspects, aged between 11 and 18, were arrested yesterday, six of whom tested positive for ganja.
Amar said two of the youths also had police records – one for rioting and another for theft of a vehicle. Some of the youths are school leavers and others were attending schools nearby the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah school.
Police also seized the shirts and pants the suspects were wearing, as well as helmets and a motorcycle from the suspects.
“We believe that they were motivated by revenge after they were taunted by the tahfiz school students and wanted to get back at them,” Amar said.
He said the suspects might not have intended to kill anyone, but refused to divulge more details other than announcing that the “case is solved”.
Amar said that investigations show that an accelerant was used and that two gas cylinders were found on the upper floor.
He also urged the public to stop the circulation of viral messages regarding the case.
“Stop this, because it will affect the investigation and the process in court,” he said.
The suspects were being investigated under the Penal Code’s Section 302 for murder and Section 435 for mischief by fire.
They have been remanded for seven days.
The New Straits Times quoted sources saying the teenagers had told police that five of the suspects were angry with the school students following a name-calling incident, said to have taken place several days before the fire.
Apparently, several of the suspects had sneaked into the school early Thursday morning, started the fire and fled the scene on motorcycles.
On Friday, the Fire Department had said traces of petrol were found in front of the door of the dormitory where the victims had been trapped.
This is believed to be the reason why the fire spread quickly.
Sept 15, Aftermath of Religious School Fire