•Siaya county director of education Nelson Sifuna said the three confessed to have been behind the latest arson. He said that according to the confession from the trio, the suspects had attempted to burn one of the dorms on Saturday night.
•"They said that they used six mattresses which they had laid on the ceiling of the building. They tried to light fire using the mattresses six times but it failed," he said.
Maranda High School has been closed indefinitely for the second time within a month over fire related incidents.
The academic giant was closed on Sunday and students ordered to go home immediately.
The decision follows a fire incident reported in the school on Sunday morning.
Star established that three students have been arrested and held at Bondo police station for interrogation.
Siaya county director of education Nelson Sifuna said the three confessed to have been behind the latest arson. He said that according to the confession from the trio, the suspects had attempted to burn one of the dorms on Saturday night.
"They said that they used six mattresses which they had laid on the ceiling of the building. They tried to light fire using the mattresses six times but it failed," he said.
According the director, the students decided to execute their plot again on Sunday morning.
"They went back to the dorm during the 10 o'clock tea break on the guise of colleting cups ," the director said.
The 10 am fire razed the top floor of the two-storey Boaz Owino hostel . The hostel is used by form two students.
Nothing was salvaged from the affected floor, the top education official said.
The county director said the mid morning fire destroyed property belonging to 200 students.
He said school was yet to determine the extent of the damage suffered.
" We resolved to send the students home to be able to ease the anxiety and tension amongst them," he said.
Sifuna claimed that the students who are suspected to have burnt the hostel were high on drugs.
" They smoked bhang. They said they got motivated to set the building ablaze after taking the drug," he said.
It was not clear how the students got access to the banned substance with the official saying police were digging out information to establish if the students had Contacts with someone from outside.
The education official told the Star on phone that the students used a match- box they obtained from one of the science labs.
He said the police were also trying to find out who could be aiding the arsonists.
" We tried to get information from them on who could be assisting them on these fires but they declined to provide the same but we hope police will be able to unearth it ," he said.
Maranda ,one of the best performing schools in the country has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons lately with the ghost of mysterious fires stalking it.
The school was closed indefinitely on November 8 after a fire razed down Ogango , a dorm that was accommodating 200 students. 178 students lost their belongings during the fire that happened on November 7.
Following a board meeting held on November 11, the school released a schedule detailing how the students were to report back. The first lot reported back on November 22.
All the 2,469 students were required to pay 2, 500 towards the reconstruction of the affected building.
They were also expected to clear the outstanding fees balance as a condition to be allowed back.
Six suspected arsonists were arrested, arraigned but later released by the Bondo principal Magistrate J.P Nandi after the prosecution said they did not have evidence linking them to the crime. The magistrate ordered the school to readmit the students immediately.
But tension continued building with students issuing threats to burn the school.
The threats were left on toilet walls.
The students according to sources from the school did not want to write mock exams.
They were also opposed to changes made in the school menu. The students were also opposed to the remedial classes which they said begin early at 4 am and end at 11 pm when they retire to bed.
These concerns were raised by the students during a baraza with the administration. The school's administration conceded to most of the demands which a board meeting later turned down.
On December 1, the form four students were sent home following another attempt to burn the school.
These actions did not deter the students who remained behind from issuing fresh threats to burn the school even after two police officers were deployed to patrol the school at night.
On Sunday, a board member of the school brought another angle to the fire incidents at the school.
Elly Abidha who represent parents at the board alleged that the reason for the arsons had nothing to do with students.
" These fires are as a result of lack of accountability on monies the school collected to motivate teachers," he said.
He further alleged that teachers were not happy about how the money is being shared out without even being told how much is collected .
Abidha claimed he had raised concerns to the board on how students suspected of arson have been handled before by the board.
He claimed that his actions led to him being replaced from the board with following due process.
He was appointed to the board in 2018 for a four year term which he said was yet to be officially terminated by the ministry of education.
But the county director of education dismissed the allegations by Abidha accusing him of being an activist.
"Members of the board are supposed to be champion of interest of the child. He is an activist who should not be in any board of any school in this county because of the security of such Institutions," he said.
Edited by S. Maombo