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Mystery of rise in arson attacks on Kenyan schools

More than 300 fires in schools since 2007 have gutted dormitories

Ekip   | 19.07.2016
Mystery of rise in arson attacks on Kenyan schools

Nayrobi

By Magdalene Mukami

NAIROBI, Kenya

Three fires are the latest in a string of arson attacks targeting schools in Kenya, officials said Tuesday.

More than 68 fires have been reported so far this year, with most blamed on incidences of school unrest, Education Minister Fred Matiangi said.

According to the Red Cross, the latest attack was at the St. Immaculate Secondary School in Kitale, Trans Nzoia county, where a 120-place dormitory was razed to the ground.

In an appearance before lawmakers on the Senate Education Committee, Matiangi said most of this year’s cases came in the last two months. He blamed school administrators for not having the perpetrators arrested to discourage further fires.

“The management of schools has been hijacked by local politics and clannism,” he said, according to The Star newspaper. “Are people burning schools so that documents are burned to avoid accountability?”

He said the Teachers Service Commission was investigating 15 school principals and their schools.

On Monday, three high school students from Kambala Girls’ Secondary School were charged with torching a dormitory.

There have been more than 300 cases of arson in schools in Kenya since 2007 with no agreed cause for the rise in attacks.

Last month, The Standard newspaper cited education officials as saying proposed stricter supervision in national exams, poor school leadership, stricter rules and drug abuse were among the causes.

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