Anger as Doha mall reopens after fire tragedy

Family and friends farewell triplets Lillie, Willsher and Jackson Weekes at the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul on June 8, 2012 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Getty Images)

The Villaggio mall in Doha has partially reopened after a 115-day closure following a blaze which left 19 people dead.

The section of the shopping mall that housed the Gympanzee Nursery where 13 children, four teachers and two firefighters died, remains closed.

But the reopening of the likes of Cineco Cinemas, Carrefour, Virgin Megastore, the food court, restaurants, Gondolania Theme Park, and a majority of the outlets in Villaggio has angered relatives of the victims of the fire.

Two-year-old New Zealand triplets Lillie, Willsher and Jackson Weekes were among the 19 killed when the fire broke out in the mall on May 28.

Their parents Martin and Jane Weekes said in a statement published by newspapers in New Zealand: “Whilst we understand that this day had to come, we are angry that not one representative from Villagio or the Government has had the respect to contact us in advance to explain this decision.

“We are angered that Villagio has not even had the courtesy to invite us to grieve for our children in private at the location they died. The owners and the management should be ashamed.”

They added: “Villagio is reopening before the owners of the mall and Gympanzee have even been before the Qatari Courts… Whilst we accept the right of Villagio to reopen we also assert our rights as the families of the victims of this crime. Those individuals and entities responsible must face justice.”

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