Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Prof George Magoha has urged parents, teachers, pupils and members of the public to be patient as security agencies investigate a stampede that led to the death of 14 pupils at Kakamega Primary School on Monday.
Professor Magoha made the passionate appeal at the tragic scene in Kakamega County where he addressed the public on Tuesday.
The Education CS confirmed that a total of 14 pupils had died from the tragic stampede, which left scores of others with injuries of various magnitude.
“I regret to announce that we have so far lost nine girls and five boys following Monday evening’s tragedy,” said Magoha, adding 12 of the deceased were in Standard Five while two were Standard Four pupils.
He instructed immediate closure of the institution in order to allow security agencies to carry thorough investigation with the aim of establishing the real cause behind the ill-fated stampede.
“The school will be reopened Monday next week,” the CS directed.
Regretting the tragedy, Magoha assured affected parents, pupils and teachers they will go through counseling sessions organized by the ministry.
Speaking at the event, Kakamega County Governor, Mr. Wycliffe Oparanya, cautioned members of the public against publishing unverified content on social media platforms in connection with the tragedy.
“I am cautioning Kenyans against sharing speculative content on social media in connection with the cause of the stampede,” warned Oparanya who acknowledged the support received from various stakeholders, including the national government.
The county boss revealed that his administration had already appointed a committee that would be in charge of funeral arrangements for the departed learners, “including other related matters to the tragedy,” he added.
With the cause of the tragedy yet to be established, there have been several speculations, with some sources claiming the stampede happened when a teacher who had a whip scared the pupils who at the time were on the third floor of the storeyed classroom building.
Another source claimed the tragedy occurred after one of the pupils scared others with a sharp scream.
The injured are receiving medical attention at Nala Hospital and Kakamega County Referral Hospital. Bodies of the deceased are at the county hospital morgue.
Besides Kakamega Governor, Mr. Wycliffe Oparanya, the CS was accompanied by area Deputy Governor, Professor Philip Kutima, Education Principal Secretary Dr. Belio Kipsang and Government Spokesperson, Colonel Cyrus Oguna.