Kenya: Mystery of Fourth Fire in a Year at Sigalame Boys School

20 September 2021

More than 140 students at Sigalame Boys High School in Funyula, Busia County will spend the night in the cold after their dormitory was reduced to ashes in a Monday night fire.

The 8pm inferno is the fourth such incident after the school had three fires last term.

The first was on July 27, a day after schools resumed learning for term one. A dormitory caught fire in the middle of the night.

This was followed by another fire on August 10 and a third one on August 25.

School Principal Peter Auma is now accusing parents and the neighbouring community of being behind fires at the school.

The school has a population of 1,600 students who sleep in 19 dormitory blocks. Four of these dormitories have been reduced to ashes by arsonists.

"It is not normal for a single school to be burnt down at this rate. Students are calm and we suspect outside forces," said Mr Auma, adding that DCI officers in Busia had launched investigations into the latest inferno.

Meanwhile, Busia County Director of Education Thadeus Awori is accusing DCI officers of dragging their feet in investigating school fires in the county.

"The officers commenced investigating when the first fire broke out in this school. Three more have followed yet they have not established the cause. Is somebody sleeping on the job or it is a conspiracy?" Wondered Mr Awori.

Police officers were deployed to provide security at Sigalame School after the first fire incident.

Currently, the school has more than four night guards. It remains unclear how arsonists managed to set the dormitory ablaze unnoticed.

Funyula sub-county is now leading in cases of school infernos.

One school, Namboboto Secondary, has been converted into a day school following several fire incidents.

Nangina Ward MCA John Obwogo has called on Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha to tour the school and help in finding a lasting solution.

"Why is Education Prof Magoha not treating the fires at Sigalame with any concern? We want him to come down and assist the school to unravel the cause of these fires," said Mr Obwogo.

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