NAIROBI July 28 – Six students from Hospital Hill Secondary School in Nairobi were Monday charged with arson following a strike on Sunday night that left one of the school’s dormitories gutted.
The six, who were charged in the Children’s Court, appeared before Senior Resident Magistrate Esther Mbugua.
Their charge read: “…all of you wilfully and unlawfully set fire to the school’s boys dormitory valued at Sh5 million.”
One of them pleaded guilty to the charge and was remanded in custody until August 8, when hearing will commence.
The other five students denied the charges and were given a Sh100,000 cash bail or an alternative bond of Sh50,000.
Meanwhile, two of the students claimed that they were tortured by police after their arrest, an allegation that made Mbugua direct them to undergo a doctor’s examination.
Their medical reports will be tabled on the hearing date.
The Sunday night strike came despite intensified efforts to curb widespread mayhem in secondary schools that have wrecked the country in the recent past, with more than 200 schools going on the rampage.
Parents have been criticised for abdicating their role in instilling discipline among their children, which according to experts has been a contributing factor to the unprecedented wave of school unrest witnessed in the country.
Last week, Education Minister Sam Ongeri slammed a ban on the use of mobile phones and other entertainment equipment in schools as one measure to restore order.
Ongeri said the technological gadgets had played a major role in fuelling the strikes.