Heartbreak as teenage Syrian refugee dies suddenly


A Co Armagh community has been plunged into mourning after the sudden death of a teenage Syrian refugee.

The 14-year-old boy, a pupil at St John the Baptist College, has been described as a quiet and highly-thought of young boy.

Jan Alou came to Portadown two years ago with his family, fleeing the war in Syria.

His brother was murdered during the conflict.

Deputy Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, Sinn Fein Cllr Paul Duffy, who visited the family, said they are all devastated.

He revealed that the boy’s brother had been murdered in Syria and the family came to live in Portadown two years ago as part of the Refugee Programme.

Specially trained staff have been brought into the school to help fellow pupils deal with the tragedy.

Mrs Noella Murray, Principal of St John the Baptist’s College said: “Sadly, the governors, staff and students of St John the Baptist’s College have been informed of the sudden death of one of our Year 10 pupils, Jan Alou.

“This is a tragic loss to Jan’s family and our school community. A special assembly to remember Jan and to offer up our prayers for his family will take place later in the week. The thoughts of the entire college community are with Jan’s family at this time.

“To assist in supporting our pupils and staff through this time of grief, additional trained staff from the Education Authority Critical Incident Response Team have been brought into the college to provide support.

“A letter has been sent by the college to parents, informing them of our tragic loss and providing information on the support services available through school for our children during this difficult time.”

A private funeral service was held for Jan earlier this week.