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February 22, 2018

Kerio Valley pupils hold anti-banditry demos, ask Matiang'i to end menace

A section of the school children during demonstrations in Kerio Valley on February 13, 2018. /MATHEWS NDANYI
A section of the school children during demonstrations in Kerio Valley on February 13, 2018. /MATHEWS NDANYI

Hundreds of pupils in Kerio Valley on Tuesday held demonstrations over escalating insecurity that has led to the closure of 20 schools.

The children, with their teachers, converged at Tot primary school to seek audience with government officials over the insecurity problem.

Among the affected primary schools affected are Chesegon, Cheptulel, Arpolo, Kokwo Meses, Anet, Tilingwo, Cheratak and Chemale.

The secondary schools affected include Cheptulel Girls’ High School, Cheptulel Boys’ High School and Chesumbur Mixed Secondary.

Marakwet East MP Kangogo Bowen has asked Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi to visit the region and help restore security.

Read: Five bandits killed, six injured in renewed Kerio Valley clashes

"Matiangi must now start work by addressing the runaway insecurity in Kerio Valley. If all the students drop out of school, we shall be breeding a new crop of cattle rustlers," he said.

GSU personnel and regular police have formed security barriers along the border between West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet counties to stop further attacks.

More than 2,000 families have been displaced from their various homes while most schools are yet to reopen this year.

The situation worsened in the last three weeks after bandits killed five people and torched 300 houses.

"We are on the ground to ensure security is restored in full so that residents can resume normal activities," Elgeyo Marakwet police boss Tom Odera said.

Villages, schools and other facilities in the region remain largely deserted after most residents fled fearing the continued attacks.

The Kenya National Parents Association chair Nicholas Maiyo asked the government to help re-open the affected schools.

"The situation in Kerio Valley is pathetic. Children and parents, especially women, are suffering because of insecurity," Maiyo said in Eldoret town.

Eleven of the schools have been shut down in Pokot Central after children and teachers fled because of bandit attacks.

About 30 teachers had sought transfers, citing security threats.

Also read: Herders killed as bandits rule Kerio Valley

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