Pupils stay away from schools for fear of Al Shabaab attacks

Thursday January 28 2016

School children cycle back home after school at a village in Mpeketoni, Lamu county in this photo taken on November 6, 2015. FILE PHOTO |

School children cycle back home after school at a village in Mpeketoni, Lamu county in this photo taken on November 6, 2015. FILE PHOTO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KALUME KAZUNGU
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More than 400 pupils in Basuba Ward, Lamu East Sub-County, have not been to school from the beginning of the term because of insecurity.

Basuba, Milimani, Mangai, Mararani and Kiangwe primary schools have remained closed three weeks after the academic year began because teachers fled for fear of attacks by Al-Shabaab.

Speaking to the Nation on Wednesday, villagers - mostly women from the Boni community - said the Tuesday Al-Shabaab attacks on police officers had exacerbated the situation.

They said teachers who were planning to return could not do so following the Tuesday morning attack - the latest.

The villagers said their children were being left behind in school work while their counterparts in other parts of the country were learning.

AP ATTACK

They spoke a day after six Administration Police officers were killed and three others seriously injured when their lorry hit a landmine in Milimani Village on the Hindi-Kiunga road.

They called on the government to come up with an long-lasting solution to Lamu’s insecurity.

Mrs Halima Guyo, a Mangi resident, pleaded with the government to come up with an alternative plan that would see children from the villages go to school.

“Pupils are not learning and we cannot blame teachers for that. They deserve to work in a safe environment.

The latest attack on policemen has killed the little morale the few teachers who wanted to return had,” she said.

“I do not think these teachers will return to Basuba because of what happened. We urge the government to come up with an alternative plan so that the safety of teachers, pupils and even the villagers is guaranteed. That is the only way to make the teachers return.”

Mr Abdi Ali lamented that the children’s education had not been smooth from mid last year.

“The children need to be in school. They have been out of class since last year because of insecurity that led to closure of most Basuba schools,” he said.

“Unfortunately, nobody will consider that when national exams begin and our children will be expected to compete with the rest. That is unfair. The government must do something.”

NOT THE BEST PLACE TO WORK

Most teachers and Teachers Service Commission officials interviewed by the Nation on Wednesday said Basuba was not the best place to work.

For the past two years, the area has suffered many attacks.

Lamu TSC Director Yusuf Abdullahi said there was need for the national government to offer a guarantee for teachers security if schools were to reopen.

He said teachers’ safety would mean other people would also be safe.

“We are well aware of the situation. The commission is not satisfied with the situation and we can’t be confident enough to post teachers to Basuba.

Those teaching were right to flee for their lives. TSC will not post tutors to Basuba until their security is guaranteed,” he stressed.