A video showing a group of nursery school children running for their lives on Monday after anti-riot policemen shot teargas at them has hit the internet.
The incident is reported to have occurred in the mid-morning in Nyalenda slums, Kisumu, Kenya.
The assault on the children’s eyes and nostrils came as they were learning how to read and write.
25 pupils at St Peters Kodingo ECD in Nyalenda-Kisumu skip school; teachers say they’re traumatized after police teargas in school yesterday pic.twitter.com/wzfsrdEhIH
— Mac Otani (@MacOtani) October 3, 2017
The attack on St Peter’s Awich Kodingo ECDE is reminiscent of the tear-gassing of pupils at Lang’ata Road Primary School in Nairobi who were protesting at the grabbing of their playing field in 2015.
A video of the Nyalenda attack trended on social media platforms for the better part of Monday night and early Tuesday morning, with Kenyans demanding accountability.
According to the school’s founder, Beatrice Schnelli-Okello, armed policemen “unlawfully” entered into the school premises and hurled teargas at the minors.
Three children sustained injuries as they stormed out of their classes.
“They attacked us without any due regard for the children aged between 3-7 years and staffers. It took the intervention of teachers and good Samaritans to evacuate and aid the little ones to safety,” she told the Nation on Tuesday.
Schnelli-Okello also lamented and questioned the motive of the officers in attacking the young children.
“It is unfathomable to involve innocent children, within school premises, and further risk their lives. The children are traumatised and some have suffered injuries,” she said.
How the incident happened
The institution’s head teacher Eunice Odhiambo said the incident took place at 11am on Monday.
“The anti-riot police were outside the gate demanding the children to be released from classes. They suddenly lobbed teargas into the school compound that exploded right at the entrance of one of the classes, chocking pupils,” she said.
According to the teacher, six police officers forced their way into the school compound.
““We had to break the gate to secure the release of the children from jaws of police brutality.”
She said she had to hide in the administration block for two hours as the six police officers pursued her after realising she was recording a video.
Meanwhile, the police are denying attacking the minors. Kisumu County police boss Titus Yoma said no anti-riot police were deployed to the area.
“There were no riots in Nyalenda hence we cannot claim any responsibility. Our officers were focused on Kondele where the riots were rampant,” he said.
He said police would not take responsibility over the alleged attack.