Kenya teachers strike fearing al-Shabab attacks

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About 700 teachers in Kenya are refusing to return to work in the north-east of the country fearing attacks by Somali Islamist militants.

Last year, al-Shabab insurgents attacked a bus near the Somali border, killing more than 20 teachers travelling home for Christmas.

The striking teachers have asked to be stationed to other safer areas.

The education ministry said it would consider disciplinary action if they did not report for duty on Monday.

Hundreds of teachers have been holding demonstrations outside the education ministry in the capital, Nairobi, demanding a transfer to other schools.

The counties affected by the strike are Garissa, Mandera and Wajir, where al-Shabab militants killed more than 100 people last year.

The BBC’s Bashkas Jugsodaay in Garissa says the few teachers that are working have been forced to combine classes.

Education officials say other areas of the country are fully staffed so the teachers cannot be redeployed.

Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, stepped up its campaign of attacks in Kenya after the country sent troops across the border to help battle the insurgents in 2011.

In one of the worst attacks on Kenyan soil, 67 people were killed in 2013 when four gunmen took over the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi.

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