Nyamira pupil flogging: Teacher goes into hiding as police arrest colleagues
Police in Nyamira on Thursday arrested four people in relation to an incident where a primary school teacher reportedly flogged a Grade Four pupil at Riang’ombe Adventist Primary Boarding School, injuring him badly.
The four are the school head teacher, his deputy, Grade 4 class teacher and the matron.
Nyamira County Police Commander James Mitugo said that they are searching for the main suspect who went into hiding in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
“Unfortunately, he was able to escape the police dragnet. But we will get him, we are tracking him. He was last seen around Manga at 5am,” said Mr Mitugo.
He explained that the matron was arrested because he was the one who reportedly fetched the pipe that was used to whip the grade 4 pupil.
The class teacher is said to have worked so hard to cover up for the assailant by reportedly altering the class register to indicate that the child had been attending classes even when other pupils said that he had been locked in the dormitory.
“We gathered that the child got injured on Sunday and had since been locked in the dormitory as teachers tried to cover up the incident. The boy could neither walk nor sit,” said the Police Commander.
The head teacher and his deputy gave conflicting information as to who was managing the school at the time of the incident and during the four days that the nine-year-old boy was hurting in the dormitory.
“We gather that the teacher used a plastic pipe to whip they boy. But we are shocked and wondering what level of force he was using because the injuries are intense,” said Mr Mitugo.
He said they have recorded statements from some of the pupils who were asked to pin down the boy as the teacher whipped him.
“The DCI have taken over the case and we assure that justice will prevail,” said the Police Commander.
At Riang’ombe school, teachers were gathered in a room discussing in hush tones when the Nation visited.
Education officials had flocked the school trying to put together pieces of information.
They said they were not authorised to speak to the media.
Social Media users using the tag 'Justice for Grade 4 Pupil' on Thursday demanded for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the teacher in question for contravening the Ministry of Education's policy on corporal punishment.
The pupil is said to have been assaulted last Sunday and upon realising his injuries were serious, his teachers conspired to conceal the incident by keeping him in the dorm and denying him medical attention.
The boy's uncle, whom we cannot name now for the sake of protecting the minor, lamented that his nephew was allegedly given one hundred and seven—107— strokes of the cane after he went to report about theft of his clothes from the residential dormitory.
Pupils who witnessed the beating claimed that they counted up to 107 canes on the pupil.
“We took the boy to Nyamira hospital and after we undressed him, we noticed the injuries were very severe to an extent that a huge tissue had been cut out of his buttocks as a result of the injuries, ” said the distraught uncle.
He stated that after the boy’s parents learnt of the incident, they made frantic efforts to speak with the school management but their efforts were allegedly hampered by the teachers.
The boy's mother told the Nation that her son has been in the school for only two months.
"We transferred him here from Nairobi. He is not used to boarding school. We thought he would be better off in a boarding school," said the distraught mother of three.
The injured boy is her firstborn.
She added that they reported the incident to Nyamira police station yesterday but were referred to Manga where the incident took place.
"We are returned to Manga today and have recorded statements with the police. We hope justice will prevail,” said the young mother who together with her husband do manual jobs for a living. They live in Rongai, in the outskirts of Nairobi city.
Records from Nyamira County Referral Hospital show that the boy has serious injuries on his buttocks.
"He was treated yesterday and discharged. He is now recuperating at home," said the mother.
The boy’s grandfather wondered whether the said teacher was mentally well.
“Is he okay? How can he do this to my grandson?” wondered the boy’s grandfather.