Lamu, KENYA: Elders from the Boni minority community in the terror prone Basuba ward in Lamu East have raised alarm over the increased number of teenage pregnancies and school dropouts, a situation they blame on the insecurity caused by frequent Al Shabaab raids.
The elders have also put on the spot security officers taking part in the ongoing Linda Boni Security Operation for coercing the school girls into having sexual relations with them after which they dump them upon realizing they are pregnant.
“Our girls are lured using money or cheap gifts from the soldiers and they fall head on.Unfortunately these men only want to use them and leave them. We have so many girls how are pregnant for soldiers but we have no way of reaching the men after all they are soldiers,” said elder Soni Gare.
Speaking on Tuesday, the community elders said they are worried that the community might never really get to attain the required educational and development standards to match up to the rest of the country.
The elders said many of their girls of school going age are pregnant with some even being forced to enter into early marriages to escape the discrimination that comes with getting pregnant out of wedlock.
Notably, schools in Basuba ward have remained closed for over four years now rendering the fate of learners in the region in limbo.
All the five primary schools of Basuba, Milimani, Mangai, Mararani and Kiangwe have remained closed since 2014 after teachers fled the area following Al Shabaab threats.
Only a handful of ECDE centers are functional and even then, just to a certain extent.
Dirire Musa says out of the 500 learners in the Basuba ward, only 260 have been able to be transferred to other places to proceed with learning.
Elder Musa says girls have been worst affected by the situation.
“There are so many of us here who have our pregnant daughters in our houses as we speak. We cant really blame the kids, I mean an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. They are supposed to be in school like their peers but because of the security situation here, they haven’t set foot in a classroom for four years, anything is expected at that point,” said Musa.
The elders want the government to intervene and have the schools re-opened so as to save their young generation from perishing.
Poverty has also been cited as a major contributor to the current situation.