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Friday, August 18, 2017

Bandits keep 5,000 pupils from school

Residents displaced by bandit attacks at an IDP camp in Nyimbei, Baringo South, on February 2 /JOSEPH KANGOGO
Residents displaced by bandit attacks at an IDP camp in Nyimbei, Baringo South, on February 2 /JOSEPH KANGOGO

More than 5,000 pupils are unable to go to school and are in IDP camps in Baringo due to the bandit attacks and security operation in the county.

“We have ordered teachers and pupils to stay away from the volatile areas until peace and sanity are restored,” Kenya National Union Of Teachers branch executive secretary Joshua Cheptarus told the Star yesterday.

The pupils are among the 30,000 residents displaced as suspected armed Pokot bandits make regular attacks, threatening lives and stealing livestock since December last year.

Cheptarus praised the Teachers Service Commission for deploying more than 60 new teachers to address the shortage in Tiaty, Baringo North and South subcounties, but regretted that peace is yet to be restored.

“More than 5,000 pupils are still in the IDP camps with their parents for fear of sudden attacks,” he said.

Some 1,000 KCPE exam candidates are also locked out of classrooms as the situation escalates.

Cheptarus urged the government to provide security in schools to keep the pupils in class.

In March, the government declared “disturbed” areas where there are frequent attacks and ordered a security operation.

Chemoe resident Richard Chepchomei said even after at least five Kenya Police reservists were deployed to man every school, teachers are yet to resume duty for fear of their safety.

“Teachers have fled the volatile areas, fearing for their lives,” he said.

Chepchomei said KCPE exam candidates in the affected areas might perform poorly if security is not restored and they do not go back to school.

“How can untaught pupils compete with regularly taught colleagues in the final exam?” he questioned.

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