Kenya: Parents Call for Justice After Arsonists Burn School in Mandera

Parents of Yado Primary School in Mandera South are calling on security agencies in the area to apprehend suspected arsonists who set the institution on fire last week.

Led by Elwak North MCA Adan Maalim Mohamed, the parents asked the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to speed up investigations, arrest and charge the five suspected arsonists.

"The school was set on fire last week on Wednesday by people who arrived in the compound on two motorcycles," said Mr Mohamed.

He said the arsonists from the neighbourhood are against the development of Yedo village that was started in 2003 and now has a population of about 5,000 people.

OPPOSED TO DEVELOPMENT

"This is a fast growing settlement and it is clear that a certain community in the neighbourhood is against this development leading to the burning of the school," he said.

In 2015, the school, now with a population of 122 pupils in Grade One to Three, was burnt in the first such incident.

The MCA accused the police of failing to take action against what he termed as well-known criminals in the area.

"I don't understand why the security officers are taking long to arrest and charge the arsonists who continue to walk free in the area," he said.

PREVIOUS BURNING

A parent said no action was taken when the school was first burnt in 2015.

"Schools remain closed due to the coronavirus but they continue to get ready for re-opening including building more facilities but things are different at Yado Primary," he said.

The affected classrooms were built through Mandera South National-Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).

Mandera South Deputy County Commissioner Abdihakim Dubat, while confirming the incident, said already, two suspects have been arrested.

"The incident happened last week and immediately two suspects were arrested and arraigned," he said.

Mr Dubat said the police are looking for more suspected arsonists as investigations as to why they razed the school continue.

BORDER DISPUTE

"Preliminary investigations indicated the incident is linked to a border dispute between communities living in Lafey and Mandera South constituencies," he said.

However, he denied knowledge of the first fire incident in 2015.

He called on both communities in the area to co-exist peacefully.

"A school is about the well-being of our children and their future. I don't understand how and why someone will burn a learning institution," said Mr Dubat.

The Elwak North MCA called on both national and county governments to help reconstruct the school before learning resumes next year.

"The national government has to set-up a security camp in the area to deal with increasing insecurity and such vices in Yedo," he said.

The MCA also wants the Mandera County government to provide a permanent source of water at the settlement.

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