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WESTERN LAKES - 10 Jun 2019

A primary school in Rumbek closed indefinitely after pupils strike

Education officials in Western Lakes state on Friday indefinitely ordered the closure of Agergum Primary School, following a pupils’ strike that led to the destruction of the education ministry offices.

The state education minister Malith Mathiang Dhelbeny told Radio Tamazuj that he took the decision due to damages caused by the striking pupils to the ministry of education building, their unaccepted behavior and looting of Rumbek Market.

He said the strike was prompted by the ministry’s resolution to transfer the head teacher and other teachers from Agergum Primary School to other schools.

“The reason for transferring the head teacher, and other teachers was due to some reports of mismanagement of school fees and inappropriate behavior of the teachers. I got reports that four girls were impregnated by the teachers. The reason for closing down Agergum primary school is due to the destruction caused by pupils,” he said.

He added, “They have destroyed seven windows made of glasses in the ministry of education, and looted bags and mattresses from the main Rumbek market.”

Malith said about 20 teachers and pupils were arrested by National Security Services agents and police but they were later released after investigations.

He said the school will remain closed until the members of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) sign a memorandum of understanding with the ministry to curb a repeat of such incidents.

One of the teachers who were arrested by the police, Gabriel Kon, claims they were beaten and tortured before being released.

“We have been badly tortured like criminals without respect by the national security service and the police CID. They started beating us from the school premises in Agergum up to their premises in Makoi before they decided to release us,” Gabriel said.

The teacher called on the ministry to investigate the ill-treatment of pupils and teachers by the police