35 nursery pupils skip school after police attack in Kisumu

Thirty-five nursery pupils have skipped classduring

The anti-riot police on Monday lobbed teargas into the compound and classrooms of St Peter’s Awich Kodingo ECDE in Nyalenda slums.

TRAUMA

Head teacher Eunice Odhiambo on Wednesday said 10 more learners have refused to attend school out of fear.

The minors are traumatised, she said.

“Twenty-five children were affected by the teargas that was lobbed into the school compound. Out of the three children who sustained injuries, only one turned up for classes today,” said Ms Odhiambo.

The school administration has sought professional counselling for teachers and the pupils even as the police denied harming the children.

“We did not use excessive force at all. In fact the public accuse police a lot yet on that Monday, three of my officers were injured after being pelted with stones,” Mr Titus Yoma, the Kisumu County Police boss told the Nation.

FEAR

“We were only operating on the main roads and therefore claims that we tear-gassed school children are not true. None of our officers was at any residential area,” he said.

Ms Odhiambo said parents had expressed fears over the safety of their children during demos, given the proximity of the school to the main road.

“Most parents now fear to bring their children to school with the planned demos on Mondays and Fridays,” she said.

School founder Beatrice Schnelli-Okello has asked the county government to intervene in the matter and have  the rogue police officers brought to book.

PROBE

“Let the police officers who lobbed teargas into the school be brought to book and face charges,” said Ms Okello.

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority and DCI detectives visited the school to investigate the matter.

According the head teacher, police “unlawfully” entered the school compound and assaulted the children’s nostrils and eyes as they learned how to read and write.

“The anti-riot police were outside the gate demanding the children to be released from classes. They suddenly lobbed teargas in the school compound. They (teargas canisters) exploded right at the entrance of one of the classes, chocking pupils,” she said.

She said six police officers forced their way in the school compound.

POLICE

“We had to break the gate to secure release of the children from the police brutality.”

The school head said she had to hide in the administration block for two hours as the six police officers pursued her after realising she was recoding a video.

The video trended in social media on Monday and Tuesday, with Kenyan and rights defenders demanding accountability.

The attack comes at a time the National Police Service is on the spot over rising brutality and extra-judicial killings.

The service has been roundly condemned over the brutality it unleased on , anti-IEBC protesters, and a.

Anti-riot police unleash corrosive gas on the eyes and into nostrils of learners aged 3-7 years in Nyalenda.

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