• On Monday, 10 teachers were airlifted by military and police choppers to their various schools and the learning institutions reopened immediately.
• Children were seen trooping to their schools shortly after the choppers carrying their teachers touched down.
The government on Monday finally reopened all six schools in terror-prone areas of Lamu county that were closed seven years ago over terror attacks.
They are Bodhai, Basuba, Milimani, Mangai, Mararani and Kiangwe primary schools. More than 10 teachers were airlifted by the military and police choppers to their respective schools. Some learners were also airlifted to school.
The reopening of the schools in Lamu comes as a relief to the over 500 learners from the Boni minority community who have missed school for seven years.
Last week, the six schools failed to reopen after teachers failed to report to their duty stations for fear that they would be attacked by al Shabaab militants. All the other schools in the country reopened last week after nine months of closure due to Covid-19.
The major road leading to Boni Forest schools has been known to be targeted by militants who plant IEDs and attack security vehicles at any will.
After staying out of the learning institutions for seven years, pupils were seen trooping into their schools shortly after the choppers carrying their teachers touched down.
By 7.30am on Monday morning, hundreds of pupils had reported to their various schools across the terror-prone Basuba ward ready to learn.
Lamu county commissioner Irungu Macharia said on Tuesday the government was focused on ensuring normalcy resumes in all Boni villages and that all activities, including learning, proceed as expected.
He said each of the six schools has received two teachers from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
All schools in Boni Forest have classes running from nursery up to class four only.
Over the years, learners from grade five to eight are always transported to the special learning centres at the Mokowe Arid Zone and Kiunga primary schools in Lamu West and East respectively.
The Mokowe Arid zone school was established in 1992 to cater to learners from disadvantaged communities like Boni, Sanye and Orma.
“Last week teachers could not report back to work due to travelling logistics which have now been resolved and we have airlifted all of them to the schools. Each school gets two teachers and learning has already commenced,” he said.
Macharia said parents have no reason not to allow their children to go to school as everything has been taken care of, including security and teachers.
He said the ongoing Linda Boni security operation inside the Boni Forest had equally enhanced security and that as such there was no cause for alarm.
The operation has been ongoing since September 2015. “Security has been optimised and life is going back to normal. That also applies to learning,” Macharia said.
Parents and elders in the Boni community have expressed their gratitude over the move to reopen schools in the area, saying it was long overdue.
“We hope this time around the reopening is permanent and that there will be no going back and forth like the past several years so that our children can make something out of their education," Abdalla Wakatti said.
The Boni community has also urged the government to consider recruiting and training Form 4 leavers from the Boni community as teachers and then deploy them back into their schools upon qualification to cater to teacher shortages.