TERRORISM

Al Shabaab attack school, kill three non-local teachers in Garissa

Northeastern regional commissioner Nicodemus Ndalana told reporters there was a conspiracy between the locals and the militants.

In Summary

• The attack came barely a week after they raided Saretho Boarding Primary School in Dadaaab subcounty and killed four pupils.

•  The militants shot the three teachers at close range but the fourth one escaped with gunshot injuries in the hip and leg.

Lucy Wanja, a teacher at Kamuthe Primary School, who survived the attack on January 13, 2020
AL SHABAAB ATTACK Lucy Wanja, a teacher at Kamuthe Primary School, who survived the attack on January 13, 2020
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Al Shabaab terror group yesterday attacked Kamuthe Primary School, 50kms from Garissa, and killed three non-local teachers,

The attack came barely a week after they raided Saretho Boarding Primary School in Dadaaab subcounty and killed four pupils.

The attack has caused panic among non-locals teachers in Dadaab and Fafi subcounties, with the County Education Board through the county director of Education directing all of them to report to his office for further Instructions.

 

During the 1am attack, about 20 militants split into three groups, with one destroying a Safaricom communication mast, the other went to the nearby police post and the third group headed to the teachers' quarters inhabited by non-locals.

The militants shot the three teachers at close range but the fourth one escaped with gunshot injuries in the hip and leg.

Robert Abraham, one of the survivors, said he was woken up by gunshots from Block 4, where his colleagues were staying.

“When I heard the gunshots, I quickly woke up to try and figure out what was happening. I then dashed out of my bed and started running. But realised I forgotten my cell phone and quickly went for it. As soon as I picked it and left my house, the militants spotted me and started shooting at me,” the visibly shaken Abraham said.

“They then continued to aim at me but miraculously, not a single bullet hit me. I kept on rolling and dashing and after 200 meters, they went back. I hid in the bush until around 6am,” he added.

A tearful Abraham said two of his colleagues who were in one room were killed inside, while one of the two who were in a separate room escaped with gunshot injuries but did not survive.

Asked if he will go back to the school, Abraham said inasmuch as he loves his job,  Kamuthe will be the last place he will offer his service.

 

“Surely I came too close to death and memories of my colleagues, whom we were very close to each other keep on coming back. Surely, how do you expect that I can go back to the same institution? It is practically impossible. I am traumatized,” he said.

Abdi Nasir, the school headteacher, who was also a target, survived because he had taken his daughter to join secondary school the previous day.

The militants shot hundreds of bullets at the door of his house.

The school that has 380 pupils and 11 teachers — 8 non-locals — has been closed indefinitely.

“I thank God for saving my life. But at the same time, I am mourning my teachers who were very hardworking. I really don’t know how long it will take for us to recover and for learning to resume. It is my hope and prayer that the government secures all leaning institutions,” he said.

One of the lucky teachers, a woman, said the terrorists seemed to know their way around, and asked them if they had children and when they said yes, they left.

They also went to the house of a nurse, a woman, at the local health centre and spared her after realising that she had a child.

Northeastern regional commissioner Nicodemus Ndalana told reporters there was a conspiracy between the locals and the militants.

“It is not possible for the militants to walk all the way from the border into the heart of Kamuthe and carry out such a coordinated attack without the locals' involvement. We will not spare anyone irrespective of his or her status in society in this war. My mission is to get rid of al Shabaab in the region,” he said.