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February 21, 2018

50 schools closed due to Kerio Valley attacks, 2,000 pupils affected

Pupils and teachers demonstrate against runaway insecurity in the Kerio Valley, February 13, 2018. /STEPHEN RUTTO
Pupils and teachers demonstrate against runaway insecurity in the Kerio Valley, February 13, 2018. /STEPHEN RUTTO

At least 50 schools in Kerio Valley have been shut down indefinitely as about 400 teachers have gone on strike to protest deadly attacks in the area.

On Tuesday, more than 2,000 pupils and at least 150 teachers held peaceful demonstrations over the runaway insecurity.

Soon after the protest, two people were shot near Toroko Primary School in the afternoon.

Read: Bandit killed, 100 cows stolen in fresh Kerio Valley raid

Kibor Kimargat, 25, and an unidentified bandit suspected to be from Tiaty were shot dead near the school.

Marakwet Knut Secretary John Cheberi said on Wednesday that no learning will take place until the government deploys adequate security personnel in the area.

“Teachers are now heading to sub-county education offices to handover management of schools,” Cheberi said.

The unionist said it is no longer safe for teachers and pupils to proceed with learning.

“The attacks in Kerio Valley are worse than ever and have taken a different dimension. An innocent standard four pupil was shot while in class,” Cheberi said.

He said teachers and pupils are entitled to protection from the state and will not return to class until they are assured of adequate security.

Cheberi reported tat at least 16 schools were closed in neighbouring Baringo and West Pokot counties due to insecurity.

Marakwet East sub-county Education director Kimutai Chirchir  however said Knut has no powers to close the schools.

Chirchir said all boarding schools in Kerio Valley are manned by four police reservists and urged the union to rescind the decision.

“The government has done enough. All of us should join hands to get a lasting solution instead of withdrawing our services."

He noted learners from the region get food  at their schools through the government's feeding programme so they may starve with the closure of the institutions.

“Some elderly people also go to schools alongside children to get a meal. The closure will bring more suffering."

The closed schools include Liter primary and secondary schools and Sambalat Primary that were closed after fresh fights erupted on January 5.

Ketut location Chief James Chesubar noted the Tuesday attack happened about 300 metres away from Toroko Primary.

Chesubar said bandits suspected to be from Tiaty ambushed herders, killing Kimargat and sparking a fierce gun battle that left one of them dead.

Kibor told Interior CS Fred Matiang’i to visit Kerio Valley to understand the gravity of the problem.

Also read: Woman shot dead in fresh Kerio Valley banditry raids

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