Five students arrested as they plan to set dormitory on fire - Daily Nation

Five students arrested as they plan to set dormitory on fire

Thursday July 14 2016

A parent of a student of Itierio Boys Secondary School tries to salvage the remains of his son's box after the students set their dormitories ablaze on June 26, 2016.  Five Nyagokiani Secondary School students in, Nyamira County were on July 13, 2016 arrested as they attempted to set a dorm ablaze. PHOTO | BENSON MOMANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A parent of a student of Itierio Boys Secondary School tries to salvage the remains of his son's box after the students set their dormitories ablaze on June 26, 2016. Five Nyagokiani Secondary School students in, Nyamira County were on July 13, 2016 arrested as they attempted to set a dorm ablaze. PHOTO | BENSON MOMANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By AGGREY OMBOKI
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Five Nyagokiani Secondary School students in Nyamira County were seized Wednesday night as they attempted to set a dorm ablaze.

Ekerenyo OCPD Joseph Mutendei said the students were found in their dormitory with a jerrycan full of petrol.

“School teachers and guards had detected that the students had absconded evening class and upon checking, they were traced in the dormitory, where they were found spraying petrol in readiness to burn the school,” Mr Mutendei told the Nation by phone.

They were handed over to police for interrogation.

Mr Mutendei would not divulge further details concerning the case, saying investigations were under way.

“We have started investigations and are trying to find out whether there could be more suspects involved in this case,” he said.

Kisii and Nyamira counties have been hit by a string of arson attacks in schools.

Two dormitories burnt in mysterious night infernos over the weekend at Eronge D.E.B. Secondary School in Nyamira County and Itierio Girls Secondary School in Kisii County.

TURNING POINT

The arrest of the five marks a turning point in the quest by the authorities to solve the problem of frequent cases of arson in the county’s schools.

This follows complaints by residents and leaders regarding school dorms being torched without police arresting any suspects.

More than 20 schools have been affected by dorm fires in the two counties.

On Thursday, eight Sameta Boys Secondary School students were arraigned in an Ogembo court on arson charges.

Before Resident Magistrate Carolyne Ateya, the eight denied the charges and were set free on bond.

Last month, three students from Omobera Secondary School were arrested on suspicion of setting their dormitory on fire.

Similarly on April 23, eight Nyamagwa Girls’ Secondary School students were charged with arson in an Ogembo court.

They denied the charge and were released on a free bond awaiting the hearing of the case on August 3.

The arrests bring the number of students apprehended on suspicion of arson to 20.

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i announced recently that juvenile offenders suspected of committing arson in schools would be treated like ordinary criminals by police officers.

“We are tired of being lenient on young people who commit criminal acts in the guise of protesting alleged mistreatment by the school administration.

"From now on, any student caught in the act of burning school buildings will be arrested and charged like any other criminal,” he said.