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Arsonists raze down dorms in Kilifi schools

At least five dormitories were burnt down in three secondary schools in Kilifi on Tuesday night in what police believe to be co-ordinated arson attacks.

Form Four students at Chumani, Dzitsoni and Lutsangani secondary schools were on Wednesday being treated as the main suspects in the arson cases, according to the county director of education, Mr Dickson ole Keis.

He said students were unwilling to sit their end-of-term examinations.

A security guard thwarted an attempt to burn another dormitory at Jaribuni Boys, but the arsonists still managed burn two beds and four mattresses.

Another attempt to set on fire a dormitory at Chasimba Secondary also failed, but four beds were destroyed.

“The Form Four students, who are not ready to sit exams, could be behind the destruction of millions worth of property,” said Mr ole Keis.

Kilifi police boss Joshua ole Leina said the first incident was reported at around 8pm at Dzitsoni Secondary School, when a dormitory caught fire as the girls were in class for preps. The dormitory used to accommodate 110 students.

“Half an hour later, the boys’ dormitory at Chumani caught fire. We suspect a well-planned attack by students, which forms the basis of our investigations. We will get to the bottom of this and those involved should be ready to face the full force of the law,” said Mr ole Leina.

EVERYTHING DESTROYED

At Dzitsoni, the students tried to put out the fire but it was too fierce for them. Everything was destroyed.

“Only four students salvaged a few of their belongings. However, no one was injured,” said Mr ole Leina. The school has 570 students, 216 girls and 354 boys.

At Chumani, the principal was addressing Form Four students when a huge fire broke out in the boys’ dormitory. The other students were attending preps.

“Everything was burnt down but a fire engine from the Kilifi County Government arrived an hour later and put out the fire,” said Mr ole Leina. The school has 700 students, some of them boarders.

At Lutsangani, a dormitory that used to accommodate 230 boys was burnt early on Wednesday. Some students were going for breakfast when they noticed the fire, which also razed the building.

Two other schools, Malindi High and Vitengeni Girls’, had been closed earlier due to student unrest.

“The students had given a condition that they should be allowed to go home or they would burn down everything,” said Mr ole Keis.

Despite the incidents, all the affected schools will remain open and exams are expected to go on as planned.