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Teacher testifies in Lang’ata Boys’ dormitory fire case against 12 students

By Collins Kweyu | December 2nd 2021

A teacher who was on duty when a fire broke out at Lang’ata Boys High School in Nairobi testified yesterday in a case where 12 students are charged with burning classes and a dormitory.

The students were charged in 2016. The value of the property destroyed was estimated at Sh5.4 million.

Appearing before Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Benard Ochoi on Wednesday, Pamela Auma told the court that together with a colleague, they were on duty when the incident happened on July 24, 2016.

Auma said the fire started between 6.30pm and 6.40pm during supper. She was in charge of between 500 and 600 students.

“At the time the fire broke out, the principal was not around but he was living in one of the burnt houses with his family,” Auma told the magistrate.

Pressed by lawyer Danstan Omari who is representing one of the accused persons, to explain whether there was any student in the dormitory at the time of the fire, Auma said it was not easy to establish.

She added that the routine was that on Sundays, students were required to leave in the morning and come back after 9pm preps and that when a student was sick, they would take bed rest in the dormitory.

“Your honour, I was not in charge of taking the roll call of sick students,” said Auma.

When Omari asked her whether the security of the school was wanting, Auma said the institution had sufficient security as it neighboured the chiefs camp and had two guards from a private security firm who alternated day and night.

Omar had insinuated that the school was neighbouring business malls, residential buildings, and so many hawkers operated their businesses nearby which could have allowed arsonists easy access into the school.

The teacher also said she never knew who the arsonists were and therefore was not able to identify any of them among the charged students.

When the students were charged before former Milimani Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku, they denied the five counts of conspiring to commit a felony and arson.

Mutuku released them all on a bond of Sh200,000 or alternatively cash bail of Sh100,000 each.

The students were accused of committing the offence, with others not before the court. They allegedly conspired to burn two classrooms and a dormitory.

They were also charged with unlawfully and willfully setting the school buildings on fire.

The facilities that were destroyed were Form Four Blue, Form Three Blue and the Raila Odinga dormitory block. The case continues.  

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