What you need to know:
- Teachers fled area following frequent attacks by Al-Shabaab militia.
- Mangai, Milimani, Mararani, Basuba and Kiangwe primary schools have remained closed for four years now.
The Boni people in Lamu East want the national government to build a boarding school in Kiangwe after five schools have remained shut for years in Basuba Ward.
The community has been hit hard by frequent terror attacks by Al Shabaab militia leading to the closure of the five schools in the area for the last four years.
Teachers subsequently fled the schools due to the frequent terror raids and numerous advertisements for teachers to replace them have not borne any fruit.
Speaking in Lamu town on Sunday, Basuba Ward MCA Deko Barissa and the Boni Council of Elders said the education of the Boni children has been in limbo due to the Al Shabaab attacks.
Mangai, Milimani, Mararani, Basuba and Kiangwe primary schools have remained shut for more than four years after teachers fled following Al-Shabaab attacks.
Only early childhood education centres (ECDE) are open in Basuba while upper primary pupils are taught at Mokowe and Kiunga.
Mr Barissa and the Boni elders called on the government to consider setting up a boarding learning centre in Kiangwe area that will cater to the more 400 Boni children from all the five affected villages.
They also proposed that a military and police camps to be set up close to the centre so as to enable for adequate security around the clock and to also prevent any chances of the centre closing down like the rest of the primary schools.
“We want our children to carry on with learning like the rest of the counterparts countrywide but from the look of things, it’s obvious that the government is unable to contain insecurity here to a level that can enable schools to remain operational."
Teachers don’t want to work here anymore. We, therefore, prefer that the government sets up a fully functional and secured education centre here so that the Boni children can also learn. It’s not fair that while the rest are learning, our children continue to suffer,” said Mr Barissa.
The Boni Council of Elders chairman, Ali Gubo, said the fact that Kiangwe has been proposed as the site for the establishment of the centre is a perfect idea since the area is easily accessible by sea unlike the other five schools which are all only accessible by road.
Currently, road transport in Basuba is a challenge since most Al-Shabaab attacks happen on the road.
Hordes of security officers and civilians have lost their lives on the Hindi-Basuba-Kiunga road after vehicles ran over IEDs planted by militants at various points.
The community has suffered drastic effects after they were locked out of the Boni forest which remains their lifeline.
The Bonis, who are traditionally hunters and gatherers, depend on the forest for food and survival.
The elders say many of the community members can no longer afford to sustain themselves after they were locked out in 2015 due to the ongoing Operation Linda Boni, a multi agency security operation meant to flush out Al-Shabaab militants from the forest.
Their sentiments come just days after tutors recently posted to Basuba schools complained over unpaid salaries.
The tutors are mostly Form Four leavers from the local Boni community who were hired to teach in the schools after non-local teachers refused to be posted to the terror prone area.