Groups of unruly boys have emerged in Malawi central district of Mchinji bordering with Zambia calling themselves Boko Haram, are beating and robbing pupils in primary schools in the district.
Boko Haram in an infamous Nigeria’s militant Islamist group which has caused havoc in Africa’s most populous country through a wave of bombings, assassinations and abductions.
The Malawi gangs which consist of school going teenage boys and drop outs meet in Mchinji Forest Reserve where they engage in illicit acts such as smoking marijuana, drink alcohol and train themselves as fighters, according to official news agency Mana report.
The team leaders with the help of the pupils who are members of the gangs then go to schools among them Kamuzu Primary and Bua Primary Schools where they steal porridge meant for school children during break time or sometimes enter classes and disturb pupils.
Assistant Headteacher of Kamuzu LEA School Regina Chamdimba said during the school’s second term, the gangs beat up pupils who were taking porridge provided by Mary Meals and threatened guardians who were cooking the porridge.
“There was an incident where a 13 year pupil who is a member of thegang beat up a fellow pupil and he had to be taken to hospital, the gangs also dragged pupils especially from lower classes to the forest where they would beat them up for failing to cooperate with their demands.
Chamdimba also said the gangs broke windows and threatened teachers that they would face their wrath for reasons best known to them.
“They painted graffiti on the walls of classrooms insulting teachers and other unprintable words threatening the school authorities,” She said.
The Assistant head teacher said due to the threats, Kamuzu school authorities decided to close the school earlier on Thursday 26th March 2015 than on the closing Day 27th March to protect the pupils.
Bua Primary School has also recorded similar incidents of the gangs terrorising pupils, Head teacher of the school Atanazio Mchacha Banda said the teenagersgo to the school during break time and grab porridge from unsuspecting pupils at the school.
“Sometimes when the pupils are learning these teenagers throw stones on roof tops of the classrooms and shout insults to teachers and pupils disturbing classes in the process,” he added.
Unlike Kamuzu School, Mchacha Banda says the problem started when the school suspended 10 pupils for indiscipline and in revenge, the suspended pupils connived with members of the gangs to cause trouble at the school.
“They painted graffiti on the walls of the school insulting teachers threatening to deal with them, they also attacked other pupils and told them to leave school and join them,” He said.
The headteacher said the school met the parents -teachers association and the school committee to solve the issue but the gangs kept on terrorising the school until they decided to involve the police, the social welfare office and the education office in Mchinji district.
Mchinji Police Officer In-charge Maximas Bakali said : “We are taking this issue seriously since it involves human lives, we have reports that some children were injured by members of these gangs, we are investigating the issue and as Police we are assuring people in the district that the Police will do everything possible to ensure the schools are safe.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :