TERROR THREAT

Lamu schools face closure as teachers flee Shabaab raids

Only Kiangwe and Basuba primary schools remain open with just one teacher each

In Summary
  • On May 18, an IED attack on an army vehicle at Baure area along the Bodhei-Kiunga road in Lamu East killed seven soldiers and injured several others.
  • Following the attack teachers in Mararani, Milimani and Mangai primary schools fled shortly after for fear that they would be targeted next.

 

Teachers and learners disembark from a police chopper in Boni, Lamu county last year.
Teachers and learners disembark from a police chopper in Boni, Lamu county last year.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES

Pupils in terror-prone areas of Lamu have been left stranded after their teachers fled the area shortly after an al Shabaab attack in the area that left seven KDF soldiers dead.

The schools are now facing imminent closure as there are no teachers to cater to the learners.

On May 18, an IED attack on an army vehicle at Baure area along the Bodhei-Kiunga road in Lamu East killed seven soldiers and injured several others.

Following the attack teachers in Mararani, Milimani and Mangai primary schools fled shortly after for fear that they would be targeted next.

Only Kiangwe and Basuba primary schools remain open with just one teacher each.

Parents have however refused to release their children to go to school fearing that the militants might target the learning institutions.

In 2014, the five terror prone schools of Basuba, Milimani, Mangai, Mararani and Kiangwe were forced to close after teachers fled after allegedly receiving threats on their lives by al Shabaab militants.

Some schools were vandalised and torched by the militants.

In mid-January this year, the government re-opened all the six schools after a seven-year long closure due to terror threats.

More than 10 teachers were airlifted by military and police choppers to their various schools and the learning institutions re-opened.

The teachers were housed within security camps in the area in a move to guarantee their safety.

However, since the new term commenced, Boni learners have remained at home as the government hasn’t made plans to airlift them as has been the norm.

The major road leading to Boni forest schools has been known to be targeted by militants who plant IEDs and attack security vehicles.

Parents are afraid to allow their children venture on the road fearing attacks.

“The safety of our children must be guaranteed before we can even think of releasing them to school," said Mohamed Naishidina of Basuba.

Last Saturday however, slightly over 200 learners were ferried by boat from the Boni villages to the safe learning centre at the Mokowe Arid Zone in Lamu West.

The Mokowe Arid zone school was established in 1992 to cater to learners from disadvantaged communities like the Boni, Sanye and Orma.

It is both day and boarding but Boni students always board as their homes are over 300 kilometrers away from the institution while those from around the school are allowed to commute.

Apart from primary school learners, secondary school students from these areas have also not been able to report back to their schools for the new term due to similar challenges.

Lamu Education director Joshua Kaaga confirmed that teachers serving in Boni forest schools had fled due to recent insecurity incidents in the areas.

He said there were plans to persuade the teachers to go back.

“We met with the teachers recently at the county commissioner’s office and their main concern is insecurity. We will pick up the conversation after half term. I am positive of an amicable solution," said Kaaga.

-Edited by SKanyara

Teachers and learners disembark from a police chopper in Boni, Lamu county last year.
Teachers and learners disembark from a police chopper in Boni, Lamu county last year.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES
Teachers and learners disembark from a police chopper in Boni, Lamu county last year.
Teachers and learners disembark from a police chopper in Boni, Lamu county last year.
Image: image: CHETI PRAXIDES
Teachers and learners disembark from a police chopper in Boni, Lamu county last year.
Teachers and learners disembark from a police chopper in Boni, Lamu county last year.
Image: image: CHETI PRAXIDES