Several local Chinese officials have been fired or suspended following the suicides of four siblings, aged 5 to 13, who were abandoned by their parents and neglected by local government workers in one of China's poorest regions.

The Qixingguan district government in the southwestern city of Bijie announced Friday that two village heads were fired and three more officials — including the district education chief — were suspended from work and are being investigated. The district government promises to take proper disciplinary actions at the conclusion of the investigation.

The children were found Wednesday at home in the village of Tiankan after ingesting liquid pesticide, and were declared dead at a hospital.

State media said the children had dropped out of school and their only sustenance was ground corn flour.