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Insecurity: Operations of Three Schools In Moroto Suspended :: Uganda Radionetwork

Insecurity: Operations of Three Schools In Moroto Suspended

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Security forces patroling around Kakingol primary school following the threats by armed warriors

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Education authorities in the Moroto district have suspended operations of three schools over growing insecurity.   

The community schools closed include Atedeoi Primary in Lotisan Sub County, Nakiloro Primary School, and Napedo Primary School in Katikekile Sub County while in Kakingol Primary School, the pupils had absconded.

The decision was taken following the growing security threats to the learners and teachers by the armed cattle rustlers. The officials also accused the sub-counties and security committees of not intervening in the matter despite several calls to provide safety for the schools.

For instance, Atedeoi primary school was closed after the surrounding community members started threatening teachers for arresting their people suspected of breaking into the school and stealing property.

It is alleged that on the 27th of May, the unknown people suspected to be warriors broke into the office of the head teacher and stole several items.  In the aftermath, the eight suspects including a school watchman and the cook were arrested to aid the investigations. 

However, the community mounted pressure on the head teacher demanding for the immediate release of their people or else be killed. Now, the suspects who were released have started threatening and accusing teachers of arresting them.

On Friday last week,  Pius Onyait one of the teachers at Atedeoi Primary School was ambushed at around 3:00 pm on his way to school.  The attackers questioned him why their people were arrested before he was forgiven and left to continue with the journey.

This comes barely a year when the armed warriors broke into the school and shot dead one female teacher leaving the husband and the child critically injured.

Samuel Abong, the head teacher of Atedeoi Primary School said that the threats on the teachers forced some parents to withdraw their children and take them to other nearby schools.

Abong noted that the teachers also started fleeing the school in fear of their lives prompting the school management to send all pupils to other schools until the security matter is addressed.

Abong observed that his trouble started when he arrested the suspect who broke into his office and stole several items.

Abong noted that all the people arrested were relatives to the school management committee who later mobilized the community members to gang against him.     

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Meanwhile, In Kakingol primary school, the learners have absconded schools following the killing of their colleague who landed in an ambush by the warriors last Saturday.

Another teacher and a pupil were shot and injured by the armed warriors when they broke in Nakiloro primary school in the last month.

 Christine Alupo, the deputy head teacher of Kakingol Primary School said that the learners who are day scholars are scared of reporting to school due to road ambushes.

Alupo said that the situation was worsened when one of the pupils landed on an ambushed and killed by the suspected warriors in the last week.

Alupo observed that most of their learners come from Nakiloro trading centers and the road ambushes have scared them from going to school. She added that this has reduced the school enrollment from 365 to less than 100 attending school.

Alupo revealed that although the school has not been attacked, the teachers are also experiencing the same frustration as cannot move out of school to access other services.

Alupo explained that the teachers who reside outside the school cannot go to school while those within the compound are not getting out.

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Markson Ojao, the Moroto District Education Officer confirmed that schools have been temporarily closed until the matter of security for both teachers and learners is addressed.

Ojao noted that some schools were not fenced which exposed teachers and learners to warriors who have also turned schools into their crossing points.

He said that the teachers especially those accommodated outside the school cannot access the school because of the road ambushes.

Ojao blamed the security committees both at the sub-county and district levels for not intervening in the matter despite the several calls made to them.

Ojao revealed that he has written letters to the security committees to convene a security meeting to provide safety measures for teachers and learners but all in vain.

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John Robert Adupa, the LC3 chairperson of Lotisan Sub County said that they have never received any report concerning the closure of the school. 

Adupa said that he learned about it on social media and when he tried calling the head teacher all his phone went unanswered. He said that is the only primary school in the sub-county and closing it without any clear reason is a serious concern that the education officials should explain.

He also added that his office has never received any complaints from the school except for last year which involved the killing of the teacher.

Adupa said that the school management would have considered reaching out to the sub-county authorities before taking up the decision to close the school.

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Emmanuel Lokii, the LC5 councilor for Rupa Sub County noted that the security situation is alarming and requires urgent attention.

Lokii said that the armed warriors have continued terrorizing the road users and killings which has sparked fears among the communities.

Lokii noted that the warriors who are terrorizing the communities are hiding around Mt Moroto.

He said that all the cases have been reported to the security forces but little has been done to rescue the situation.

Lokii reiterated that the attacks have continued despite security deployment and patrols along the hotspot areas.

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Currently, there are spates of road ambushes by armed Karamojong warriors targeting road users in the sub-counties of Katikekile and Rupa. The warriors are looting and killing travelers despite security deployments in the same spots.