Police officers and parents stormed Eton Academy in Tudor Mombasa on Tuesday to rescue pupils who had been locked inside the school over rent arrears.
The landlord of the facility is said to have locked the school’s main gate due to non-payment of January rent amounting to Sh150,000, leaving the pupils locked inside for days.
According to the parents, the landlord padlocked the gate of the day and boarding primary school on Friday.
“He came on Friday locked us in and left. Luckily the boarding section had enough food supply. I owe him January rent. I decided to stay with the children,” the head teacher Ms Mshenga Kisasa told Nation.
The school has been operational for over 10 years with a population of over 200 pupils. Only 45 are boarders.
“We have always had problems with the landlord. He keeps harassing us especially whenever we fail to pay rent by 10th of every month, he usually storms the school with a padlock threatening to close down the school. I have tried talking to him but my efforts have failed,” Ms Kisasa said.
On Saturday, Ms Kisasa said she reported the matter to Makupa police station.
“We cannot be slaves in this house, we are here for the sake of these children. We have our Sh260,000 deposit,” Ms Kisasa added.
The rescued pupils shed tears of joy after the school’s entrance was re-opened by armed police.
A parent, Mrs Mariam Lwande urged police to take action against the landlord.
‘MANAGED TO ESCAPE’
“The landlord came and just shut down the school while boarders were inside. But some children managed to escape. Money is not everything we must learn to protect minors,,” Ms Lwande said.
“Our children will resume school tomorrow (Tuesday). A debt should not make someone inhumane locking up innocent children, this is very unfair,” Ms Lwande said.
Neighbors in Tudor said they saw children climbing the gate while trying to escape after the landlord padlocked the main entry.
“We are not pleased by the way the landlord of this facility has behaved, these are human beings. The landlord must parent much as he claims his rent, this is a bad trend. The landlord could have demanded for his rent during the December holidays and not locking the children we want to know why the man came to close the school more especially when the learners were in,” Mombasa Urban OCPD Eliud Monari said.
The OCPD said investigations have commenced.