12 Upper Hill students charged over arson

September 9, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, September 9 – Twelve students from Nairobi’s Upper Hill Secondary School were charged on Tuesday with arson and malicious damage to property.

The students, who were arrested in a swoop at the school on Monday night, were arraigned before the Kibera magistrates court.

The charges relate to arson allegedly committed on July 19.

The court heard that the 12 burnt down a school dormitory valued at Sh2.6 million and destroyed property including beds and mattresses valued at Sh800,000.

They however denied the charges before Kibera Senior Principal Magistrate Judith Wanjala and were released on a Sh50,000 bond each, ahead of the hearing on December 8.

Meanwhile, the magistrate ordered the investigating officer in the case to compile an age assessment report within three days.

The students claimed that they were tortured by police and forced to admit the offences following their arrest.

The prosecution, led by chief Inspector Joseph Musyoka informed the court that police were likely going to arrest more students linked to the August incident in which one student was killed.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Committee on Education visited the school Tuesday and held a meeting with students, the school’s administration, officials of the Parents Teachers Association as well as the subordinate staff to determine the cause of last term’s arson attack.

The students complained there was no proper teacher-students relationship, and called for communication forums with school heads so that they could contribute ideas on major decisions affecting them.

They also blamed their parents for neglecting them, with some of them complaining that parents often appeared more concerned about when the holidays would end for their children to head back to school.

The students further complained of overcrowding in the school.

The committee has been visiting schools in different provinces to investigate causes of the unrest that affected over 300 schools last term.

The MPs are expected to make recommendations to avert future unrest in schools across the country.

Committee Vice Chairman Muturi Mwangi said they planned to tour Lenana School before proceeding to compile their report.


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