Kenya reopens schools in terror-prone Boni Forest | DW News

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  • DW News published this video item, entitled “Kenya reopens schools in terror-prone Boni Forest | DW News” – below is their description.

    Children in Kenya’s northeast Boni Forest, on the border with Somalia, returned to the classroom this week, after seven years. Schools were forced to close there because teachers were not willing to work in the area after deadly attacks by the militant group Al-Shabaab.

    DW’s east Africa correspondent Mariel Müller and a colleague from the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel got rare access to the volatile region of Boni Forest near Lamu Island and a team visited one school.

    The only way to get to the remote villages near the Somali border is by sea. The trip over land is too dangerous: Improvised landmines are scattered along the only road, planted by Al-Shabaab.

    On the edge of Boni forest, Kiangwe Primary school has finally reopened.

    Kids are back, seven years after Al-Shabaab attacked villages in the area. Farid Kale is the head teacher – and also the only teacher here.

    Kale was the only teacher who dared to come back here. Every half an hour he switches classroom, teaching up to 3 classes at the same time. Taking care of around 100 school children.

    He has a lot to catch up on. The children are years behind in their education. But they have learned how to react when they hear gun shots – and they know what Al-Shabaab is.

    Many of the children’s parents couldn’t afford to take them to another school, so most of them had to stay at home.

    Kids are excited to be back at school. You can really get a sense of how important education is for them. But just 20 kilometers down this road this week an Al-Shabaab explosive device blew up a military vehicle and killed at least two Kenyan soldiers.

    The threat is so great that a military base has been set up next to the school. 60 border patrol officers protect the school and its children. The officers are concerned that the security situation is deteriorating.

    Recently, the military defended a larger base from an attack by the Islamists. These men put their lives at risk to protect this school from being raided.

    In 2014 Al-Shabaab attacked a nearby village. The militants looted hospitals and burned down schools. Then they started rounding up young men for recruitment.

    Some were spared because of his faith. Now, with the military base in place, villagers feel more secure.

    And even the military has started helping the kids. Border patrol officers from next door are stepping in as part-time teachers. One of them, Samuel Gitau, was even trained to be a teacher before joining the army.

    While schools remain open, Samuel Gitau says, educating the next generation will strengthen the fight against terrorism.

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    In This Story: Kenya

    Kenya is a country in East Africa with coastline on the Indian Ocean. It encompasses savannah, lakelands, the dramatic Great Rift Valley and mountain highlands. It’s also home to wildlife like lions, elephants and rhinos. From Nairobi, the capital, safaris visit the Maasai Mara Reserve, known for its annual wildebeest migrations, and Amboseli National Park, offering views of Tanzania’s 5,895m Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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  • In This Story: Somalia

    Somalia, officially the Federal Republic of Somalia is a sovereign country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Kenya to the southwest. Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa’s mainland.

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