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LC Chairman, 12 Teachers Arrested for Operating School in Refugee Camp

According to Kidega, besides conducting lessons illegally, the teachers and pupils were not adhering to the COVID-19 standard operating procedures including wearing face masks, observing social distancing, hand sanitizing, with majority not vaccinated.
Pupils attend lessons at Akanyo P7 School in Palabek Refugee Settlement

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A Local Council One Chairperson with twelve teachers attached to Akanyo Primary School in the Palabek Refugee Settlement in Lamwo district have been arrested for allegedly conducting lessons against the presidential directive on COVID-19 prevention. 

The Lamwo Resident District Commissioner James Nabinson Kidega says the arrested was made during an operation held following a tip off that the school was open and operating despite a ban on operations of learning institutions. 

Kidega says upon receiving intelligence they rushed to the school on Thursday and found over twelve teachers allegedly conducting normal lessons for over 60 pupils at the school.

According to Kidega, besides conducting lessons, the teachers and pupils were not adhering to the COVID-19 standard operating procedures including wearing face masks, observing social distancing, hand sanitizing and majority not vaccinated. 

The suspects most of whom currently being detained at Lamwo Central Police Stations have been identified as, Saverio OK Billi, the LCI Chairperson of Apyeta Central village and Ronald Obina the deputy head teacher of Akanyo Primary school.   

Other teachers apprehended are Cavine Aciro, Geoffrey Mwaka, John Owiny, Stella Abwoyo, Vincent Kilama, Ismael Oding, Brenda Awino, James Okech, David Jino Onen, Charles Opio and Simon Delogary Komakech.     

However, the learners were counselled before being asked to go back home while three of the suspects, two of whom are expectant mothers and one breast feeding, were immediately released due to their status.  

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Kidaga says he ordered for the arrest of the LCI Chairperson for allegedly accepting social gatherings in his area. 

The Schools Deputy head teacher Ronald Obina however denied the allegations that the pupils were being taught but rather attending a three days’ life skill training.  Obina alleges that two education partner support organizations operating in the refugee settlement had reportedly organized the training after informing them that they had sought permission from the district COVID-19 Taskforce. 

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Cavine Achiro the schools’ senior woman teacher reiterates that they were only attending to the learners aged between 13 and 16 years old pupils who had reportedly remained redundant and have been amidst observance of the standard operating procedures.

According to Achiro, the life skills training was initiated due to concerns of the rising cases of early marriages and teenage pregnancies within the refugee settlement and the host community.

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Kidega, who in any case t=heads the district Covid-19 Taskforce, denies having permitted any training saying the suspects are only using the claim as to cover up their deeds since the learners who were both boys and girls were found in possession of learning materials.

He says the suspects acted contrary to the presidential directive that were put in place to fight the spread of COVID-19 and appropriate penalties will be administered against them for flouting the directives put in place to combat the spread of the deadly disease.

Charges of disobedience of lawful orders and negligent acts likely to spread an infectious disease have been preferred against the suspects.

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