Kenia: 100 students held as dorm fires spark crisis in schools

Kenia / 20 de julio de 2016 / Por: NATION TEAM / Fuente:

Police on Tuesday rounded up 109 students as 45 others were charged in court in a Government crackdown on a wave of arson attacks that has hit public boarding schools countrywide.

Those taken to various courts across the country were charged with being in possession of petrol, conspiring to start fires and wilful destruction of property.

This happened as the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Fred Matiangi’, sought to shift the blame of the chaos in school to head teachers who he accused of failing to put in place “coherent and focused structures for engagement in schools.”

He also cited lack of harmony between some principals, their deputies and teachers, when he appeared before a Senate Committee on education on Tuesday.

“We have seen only dormitories and head teachers’ offices going up in flames. There could be a reason for this and which could include attempts to escape accountability questions,” said Dr Matiang’i as the chaos continued with three more schools being hit by unrest on Tuesday.

In Murang’a County, dormitories at Kibutha girls and Kiruri Secondary school were burnt down, while students at Kirogo secondary smashed classroom windows before they were dispersed by police.

In Kisii, at least 40 students, among them 12 girls, were arrested over the attacks targeting schools in the county.

In Masaba South, two boda-boda operators and five students were arrested for colluding in the burning of a dormitory at Bong’onta secondary, while five others were seized over a similar attack on Itibo Boys.


Police said they had arrested two students at Igorera Secondary in Kisii South and that they would take them to court on Wednesday to answer charges of attempted arson.

Eight others from St Mary’s Nyamagwa Girls High School were charged in Ogembo where they were joined by 10 boys from Sameta Secondary School.

In Bomachoge, three students of Omobera Secondary were locked up by police while in Nyamira, five others were charged with plotting to set Nyagokiani secondary on fire.

In Lamu, police said they were holding 10 students from the Mokowe Mixed Secondary School in Lamu West, saying they caught them trying to set their school ablaze last weekend.

County Commissioner Mr Joseph Kanyiri said two more students were on the run and were being sought by police.

In Kitui County, five students of St Lukes Boys high school were taken to court and charged with unlawful possession of four litres of petrol. They were each released on a Sh60, 000 bond until December 28 when their case will be heard.

In Elgeyo-Marakwet, six out of 11 students of St Francis Kimuron secondary caught with petrol were charged in a court in Iten where they denied charges of conspiring to set their school ablaze.

They were released on Sh80, 000 bond or a surety of Sh10, 000 each until August 3 when the case will be heard.


In the same county, 26 students of Lelboinet secondary were arrested for conspiring to start a fire having been found with five litres of petrol.

In Nakuru, three students of Kambala Girls secondary school were charged with burning down one of the school’s dormitories.  The Form Two girls were accused of causing the destruction of property worth Sh3 million.

In Narok, eight students of Ntulele Secondary were charged with attempted arson and released on a Sh30, 000 bond.

In Naivasha, Police arrested 18 students who they said had planned to burn two dormitories at Kiambogo secondary school.

Kieni MP Kanini Kega called for the re-introduction of corporal punishment in schools saying indiscipline was quickly getting out of hand.

“I don’t see the need to form such teams or taskforces the answer is simply re-introduce canning in all learning institutions and things will work out.” he said while addressing residents of Mweiga town in his constituency.

Dr Matiang’i told senators that cases of unrest had been reported in  Kericho, Meru, Kisii, Machakos, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Uasin Gishu, Nyamira, Kitui, Nakuru, Migori, Siaya, Murang’a, Bungoma and Kiambu.

Story by Ouma Wanzala, Martin Mwaura, Aggrey Omboki, Elgar Machuka , Kaluem Kazungu, Boniface Mwangi, Thomas Waita, Philemon Suter,  Eric Matara,George Sayagie, Magadalene Wanja  and Macharia Mwangi

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