Khadar Yussuf paused at the door of the boarding house and peered into the darkness. The outline of the classroom was faintly visible in the darkness.
Fourteen-year-old Yussuf took a hesitant step forward then swiftly retreated as fear coiled tightly in his stomach. Was that an animal in the distance or just his mind playing tricks?
Yussuf and 31 other candidates are unable to walk freely to class during prep time to revise for their national exams because the compound of Korisa Primary School can be a dangerous place.
The perimeter fence of the school, which is located in Ijara, Garissa County, fell into disrepair and collapsed nearly five years ago thus allowing wild animals to casually wander in and out of the compound.
“We are forced to walk in groups within the compound during the night. The school has no fence despite being next to a forest that is home to dangerous wild animals,” said Yussuf.
Although a large number of pupils are day scholars who come from nearby villages, there are those who live in a boarding facility that was opened in 2011.
Head teacher Abdi Kuno said he constantly worried about the safety of the learners who lived on the school grounds because of the institution’s proximity to the expansive Boni Forest.
Residents who live near or in the forest that stretches to the Somali border have not known any peace since Al Shabaab militants turned it into a hideout from where they could launch attacks in surrounding counties.
“The school's fence collapsed a long time ago and we have not been able to replace it,” Mr Kuno told The Standard.
The administrator said he had written to the county government, National Government Constituencies Development Fund and other State agencies but no help had been forthcoming.
Hamdi Omar (pictured), a teacher in the school, said pupils, teachers and support staff were at risk from attacks by buffaloes, hyenas and baboons.
Ijara’s Constituency Development Fund manager Dini Yasin said he did not know whether the school management had written to request for assistance to rebuild the wall
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