School in terror prone areas in Lamu fail to reopen


Lamu,KENYA:Schools in areas undergoing the Linda Boni Security Operation in Lamu county have remained closed even as the third term of learning commences.

A total of eight schools in Basuba,Milimani,Mangai,Mararani and Kiangwe wards in Lamu East and those in Pandanguo,Jima,Maleli and Kakathe in Lamu west haven’t been opened due to insecurity from Alshabaab.

The situation has affected the learning of over 1000 pupils whose fate now hangs in the balance as they are now forced to remain indoors with their parents while their peers around the country carry on with their schooling.

The Basuba,Milimani,Mangai,Mararani and Kiangwe primary schools in Lamu East were shut down since May after teachers fled the areas alleging direct threats from the Alshabaab militants.

Schools in Pandanguo,Jima,Kakathe and Maleli were closed down in June after residents fled into IDP camps following attacks from suspected Alshabaab militants that left several people dead and houses torched.

Teachers in the areas also fled due to the rising insecurity and subsequent attacks.

For the last three years,education in the five schools in Basuba ward in Lamu east has been numerously disrupted owing to frequent Alshabaab attacks.

The area is occupied by the Boni minority community who still lag behind in matters education and general development and civilizations.

Parents have called on the government to seek permanent resolutions to the issue of insecurity in order to enable their children stay in school and learn.

They expressed concern on the manner in which education in the areas continues to dwindle by the day to insecurity.

“I have seven children between classes four and eight.None has stepped in class for the last two years since schools are still closed to date due to insecurity.The urge is the there but the safety isn’t amd that’s why even teachers don’t want to teach here,”said Waleh Kuro of Basuba ward.

In Lamu west the fate of over 600 pupils still hangs in the balance following the closure of the Pandanguo,Kakathe,Jima and Maleli primary schools.

Residents of the four villages are currently putting up at IDP camps at Katsaka Kairu and the AIC church in Witu town.

Witu education officer James Akello said majority of the pupils live in the camps with their parents and as such cant attend school from there since they are far away from the camps.

“Third term is here and still we cant open.Pupils are in camps and that means schools can only re-open here once the government allows those living as IDPs at the camps to come back home.In the meantime,we hope and wait,”said Akello.

Lamu county commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo asked those in IDPs camps to remain there until the security agencies complete the ongoing operations in areas bordering the Boni forest.

He said he was aware that parents wanted their children to go to school but asked them to remain with their children at the camps until the security operation is over and they are given a nod to take them to school.

“There are about 2,150 people at the Katsaka Kairu IDP camp and others at the Witu AIC church.I understand schools are open for third term but my advise is that no one should leave the camps for their homes since the security operation isn’t over yet.We will notify them when its safe for them to go back home,”said Kitiyo.