Police are investigating circumstances under which a Form Two student at Moi Girls School, Nairobi, was raped by an unknown man on the wee hours of Saturday morning.
The student was attacked at around 2am when she visited a latrine within the school compound. Her assailant fled and no arrest had been made by Saturday evening. The student is currently receiving treatment at Nairobi Women’s hospital.
The school shut doors to journalists and most parents on Saturday, even as girls inside the compound held loud demonstrations against the latest security breach.
The protests attracted passersby and motorists using Joseph Kangethe Road in Woodley.
The incident comes eight months after a fire incident claimed the lives of 11 girls in the school. The girls died after a fire broke out at a dormitory housing Form One students.
There was outrage at the school on Saturday as parents and guardians sought to get information about the latest incident which has again exposed the security challenges at one of the city’s biggest girls’ boarding institutions.
Saturday’s attack also exposes police inaction because barely two weeks ago, on May 16, when security teams demolished a club and jua kali garages adjacent to the school, a Nation journalist observed a gap on the school wall and informed senior officers. A follow-up communication to a top security official once again highlighting the dangers the girls were exposed to did not yield any response or action.
Kilimani police boss Michael Muchiri told the Nation yesterday that it was “amazing” how the assailant accessed the school compound.
“That’s amazing because, again, how did that happen? We are trying to check if there are any gaps there,” he said.
“It probably could have been an insider. You can never rule out anything because this is someone who was very, very familiar with the place; we don’t know.”
In an interview with journalists outside the school gate on Saturday evening, Mr Muchiri said the school had “enough security”.
“There are guards here and it is a very stable school,” he said. “Again, you never know with the girls. There could have been issues but this is the time some could even be trying to evade exams, so they could be taking advantage of that,” he told the Sunday Nation.
Because of the memories of the September 2017 fire, Mr Muchiri said, most students in the school had panicked.
A majority of parents were blocked from gaining access to the school even as news of the sad incident spread like bushfire.
Parents who visited the school to check on their daughters were last evening told by the school management that the Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed was expected at the institution this morning, after which a decision to either temporarily close the school or not would be arrived at.
“It is has so far been a terrible experience. No parent wants to undergo such torment. We hope such will never recur,” said a parent of a Form Two girl.
The Kilimani police boss said detectives “are on top of this”, promising that investigations would be concluded as soon as possible.
Back to last year’s fire incident, detectives have been questioning owners of premises near the institution.
The demolished premises, which were located on a parcel of land that has been the subject of a court tussle for more than 10 years.
The demolition gave new clues to last year’s arson as detectives found out that the perimeter wall that separates the school and the land had been damaged by unauthorised individuals.
Police now suspect that the intention of these individuals was to gain access to the school and probably helped crooks supply drugs and fuel to suspects in the September fire incident.
Further, police found empty bottles of alcohol, a substance believed to be drugs in gunny bags and cigarette filters on the side of the fence where the school field is.
“There was a bar here called Zam Zam and behind it was a lodging and a wines and spirits shop. Before the demolition, it was hard to discover the broken wall. Also, from the other side of the school, you cannot easily see it because there is a thicket. However, there is a clear footpath and other things showing that there have been some activity,” a police officer conducting the investigations said.
Police officers believe that the route may have been used to supply students with drugs and illegal substances even as an investigation into the fire continues.
The structures have gradually been demolished based on an eviction order issued to a businesswoman Grace Wairimu Sorora and her tenants who had illegally been occupying the land belonging to former Marakwet West MP David Sudi.
Parents and guardians had on September 12, 2012, written to the National Environment Management Authority, complaining about “insecurity and indiscipline in kiosks surrounding the school,” but nothing was done about it.
In the letter, the 10 parents said Zam Zam bar, which also housed a butchery situated opposite Winners’ Chapel, had been turned into a drugs den, selling bhang and illicit brew.
By Elvis Ondieki, Stella Cherono and Justus Wanga.