KENYA: Two nights of violent disorder have again highlighted the problem of sex attacks in schools.
A KENYAN teacher was raped after 900 high-school students went on the rampage claiming they were not getting enough food. Police have arrested 30 boys involved in the attack.
The incident took place last week in Kericho Town, 350 kilometres from Nairobi in Rift Valley province. It occurred four days after 300 students of Nyahururu boys high school in Central province stormed the neighbouring Ndururumo mixed high school.
Police said the Kericho high-school pupils waited until the boarding-school teachers came off duty at 10pm, then started rioting. They chased off the prefects and set the store and canteen on fire, ransacked and looted two lab-
Kericho deputy police chief Achessa Litabalia said a group of students then attacked and raped one of the female teachers living in the school compound.
Eighty students have been arrested. On Wednesday, 21 of them appeared in court to answer charges of rape and malicious damage of property.
The principal, Paul Kirui, said: "The students wanted to kill me and my family. It is the police that saved us," he said. Police had to fire in the air to disperse students who had smashed the principal's car and set fire to his house.
In the earlier incident in Nyahururu town, 200km from Nairobi, boys tried to storm a female
dormitory onthe night of November 10.
The girls' screams alerted Ndururumo's male pupils, who fought off the invaders with machetes and sticks. Those leading the attack were said to to have been drunk or drugged.
The chaos left 25 students critically injured, including five girls who fought off their attackers.
Police put all 600 students at Nyahururu high on an inspection parade and those with fresh wounds and other injuries were arrested. Thirty pupils have been charged with maliciously damaging property.
A government committee investigating the unrest in secondary schools claimed that girls are vulnerable to attack because they are seen as weak. This is because schools reinforce traditional sex roles and deny them leadership positions. Boys are also said to resent the fact that girls are treated more leniently and gain better results.
Last July, boys at Heni mixed secondary school, in the same district, set fire to the house of the school caterers and tried to break into the girls' dormitory.
Kenyans have not forgotten the killing of 19 schoolgirls and the rape of 75 more during an attack by their male schoolmates in 1991 at St Kizito Catholic mixed school in Eastern province, Kenya.
This atrocity brought sexual violence in schools to international attention.
Since the incident, most girls have enrolled in safer single-sex schools. A third of secondaries are boarding schools.