Kenyan school stampede: Police take witness statements

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    Some of the parents of pupils who died in a stampede at Kakamega Primary School, western Kenya, at the Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital mortuary on February 4, 2020 where they had gone to identify their children's bodies. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

    Police have started recording statements from teachers at Kakamega Primary School in western Kenya who were at the scene of the stampede that left 14 pupils dead and 39 others injured on Monday.

    They also recorded statements from other witnesses.

    In a briefing, Western region police commander Peris Kimani said detectives would focus on safety regulations in place to unravel what caused the tragedy.

    She said six pupils are still admitted in hospital with two in the Intensive Care Unit. The injured pupils were reported to be in stable condition.

    The police boss said there were missing gaps in the timeline of the tragedy that detectives were trying to unravel to establish what triggered the incident.

    It is still unclear whether teachers on duty were at the scene at the time of the incident.

    Ms Kimani said there were three teachers on duty who need to explain what happened as the learners left the classrooms and were descending the stairs from the third and second floor to go home.

    Of interest to the investigators is where the teachers were when the pandemonium broke out.

    Headteacher Dickson Wanyangu has recorded a statement with the police as investigations gather pace.

    Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) are also involved as heartbroken parents demand answers over the death of their children.

    Ms Kimani said detectives also wanted to know what safety policies and regulations had been put in place by the school to protect the learners given that the staircases were narrow and could not serve a large number of pupils.

    “We have already recorded a statement from the head teacher and we are moving with speed to ensure other teachers record statements so that we can conclude the investigation fast,” she said.

    She said counsellors from the Kenya Red Cross, St John’s Ambulance, County Government and Masinde Muliro University will visit homes of the affected families to offer counselling services.

    SOURCE: THE EAST AFRICAN

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