Lamu schools closed down over al shabaab fears


Lamu, KENYA: At least three schools in Witu division in Lamu county have been unable to resume learning for the last two weeks for fear of being attacked by al shabaab militants.

Over 600 pupils of Pandanguo,Kakathe and Maleli primary schools have not gone back to school for two weeks now due to the tension caused after al shabaab militants destroyed a school in their recent attack in Pandanguo area recently.

According to sub county education officer for Witu,James Akello,the schools were closed immediately after the terror attack on Pandanguo police post last week that left four police officers dead.

Speaking in Witu town on Saturday,Akello said the schools had to be closed down after both teachers and students refused to attend school for fear of being attacked by the militants.

Pandanguo primary school has a total of 196 pupils,Kakathe has 220 while Maleli has 176 pupils total.

He said his office had to immediately withdraw the more than 20 teachers who were serving in the schools over concern for their security but said they would be posted back once security is restored.

Akello said he was hopeful that the schools would be re-opened next week following security measures that had been put in place.

“Three schools that is Pandanguo,Kakathe and Maleli primary schools have so far closed down due to fear of being attacked by al shabaab. We had to take them off but will have them back once security is guaranteed. Maybe next week the schools might re-open,lets wait and see,”said Akello.

Parents have also expressed concern over the safety of their children in the schools and constant disruptions of their learning due to the constant al shabaab raids.

They urged the national government to establish a permanent KDF camp at Pandanguo in order to contain security in the area and neighboring areas like Kakathe,Maleli,Jima,Poromoko,Kaisari and Nyatha.

Parents in Pandango are however planning to transfer their children to the Witu primary school which is over 21 kilometres from Pandanguo.

“We have class eight pupils who need to sit KCPE this year.Schools are closed and that means our children are missing out a lot on learning.Time is running out and the exams are almost here.The only option we have is moving our children to Witu primary school so they can continue learning,” said Pandanguo elder Adan Golja.