Lamu, KENYA: All schools in Basuba ward in Lamu East have once again closed down indefinitely after 12 teachers posted by the government early this year fled the area citing insecurity and direct threats on their lives by Al-shabaab militants.
The five schools are Basuba,Mangai,Milimani,Mararani and Kiangwe primary schools.
The schools had just been re-opened in January this year after having been closed down for over two years following constant Alshabaab attacks in the areas between 2014 and 2015.
Speaking in Lamu on Wednesday, Lamu East Education Officer David Kambi confirmed that the schools had closed down and weren’t functional at the moment owing to insecurity once again.
Kambi said they decided to have pupils stay away until the security situation normalizes and teachers feel safe enough to come back to the schools.
“The schools are currently closed. That’s due to insecurity that has been facing this area.we however expect to re-open the schools anytime we are told security is okay so that pupils can carry on with education,”said Kambi.
The over 400 pupils attending the five schools haven’t set foot in class for over one month now after their teachers fled the area due to increased Alshabaab attacks.
According to Mohamed Loo who is the head teacher of Mangai primary school and also the spokesperson of the Basuba teachers association,all teachers fled the area since May and that none had returned.
Loo said the teachers have already requested the TSC to have them transferred to other safer schools in Lamu and around the country.
He said the security of Basuba was still fragile and that as teachers and government employees,they weren’t comfortable working in the area since they feared for their life.
“We haven’t been to our respective schools since May and we wont go back there even if they said security was okay.We have been threatened severally Alshabaab since we work for the government.We have decided we are better off without jobs,that is if we wont be transferred,”said Loo.
Some of the teachers are temporarily teaching at Kizingitini and Manda primary schools in Lamu east.
Basuba primary school Ali Abbas Omar also confirmed that teachers had fled the area and said all had sworn never to set foot in Basuba again.
“I am temporarily working at Manda as I await to see what the TSC will do about our issue.One thing is clear though,I wont go back to that school,never,” said Abbas.
The TSC Director Lamu branch Charles Nyauma acknowledged having received transfer requests from the teachers and said they had already been issued with temporary transfers even as the government strives to improve security in Basuba.
“The teachers are no longer there.They requested to be transferred and at the moment we already have them temporarily serving elsehwhere. We cant let them stay somewhere where they can die.The government must first guarantee their security then we see what can be done but in the meantime,they stay off,” said Nyauma.
Meanwhile in Lamu West,over 600 pupils from three primary schools that is Pandanguo, Kakathe and Maleli had to be transferred from their schools and distributed to nearby and safer schools as parents fled their homes due to insecurity fears.
Teachers also had to be temporarily posted to other schools after their schools were closed down.
Pupils from the three schools have now been distributed to Witu,Katsaka kairu and Vipingo primary schools which are being guarded by police.
Area education officer James Akello confirmed that all the 20 teachers who were operating in the three schools have now been transferred to schools in safer areas.
Akello expressed concerned that the situation will most probably impact on the performance of KCPE candidates who are supposed to sit their exams this year.
He said most pupils now stay in camps with their parents after the government asked them to move from their homes and pave way for an ongoing security operation in search of Alshabaab militants in their villages.
“Our biggest worry is the performance of our KCPE candidates this year.All this is bound to affect their performance,”said Akello.