Eight die, 3 hurt in Kerio Valley bandits shoot-out

Monday, February 28th, 2022 00:31 | By
Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Maalim Mohammed.
Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Maalim Mohammed. PHOTO/COURTESY

Eight people have been shot dead in the banditry-prone Kerio Valley following a shootout between two local groups. 

Three others sustained injuries during the incident between members of the Marakwet and Pokot communities in Siromet area, at the Baringo-Elgeyo/Marakwet counties border.

A boy, 15, was among those killed.

An unknown number of livestock was stolen during the Saturday 4pm incident,  according to Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Maalim Mohammed.

“The situation is under control. We call on health facilities to report cases of patients with gunshot wounds. We want them to tell us where other culprits are hiding,” said the administrator.

Meanwhile, tension remains high in the area, with many residents fleeing the area.

The incident happens barely a week after three buses ferrying students from an academic trip were attacked by armed bandits, leaving one person dead. The students and their teachers were in a convoy of three buses—Tot Day School, Kerio Valley School and Mogil School buses. They were ambushed near Chesuman Primary School  in Elgeyo-Marakwet county.

The bandits are said to have indiscriminately sprayed bullets at the buses, killing the driver of the leading vehicle and injuring 13 students and two teachers.

Eight of the injured were treated and discharged while two teachers and four students are still being treated at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), Eldoret. Medics say their lives are out of danger.

Mohammed assured students of their safety, adding that schools are being manned round the clock by armed security personnel. “We have also engaged experts who are carrying out counselling sessions for students and teachers,” he said. 

The regional coordinator added that all logistical arrangements have been put in place ahead of the national exams.

He said security operations have been stepped up to flush out armed criminals wreaking havoc in Kerio Valley. He directed all school principals in the region to adhere to the Ministry of Education directive banning night travel of school buses beyond 6pm. “Those out beyond this time should report to the nearest police station for further direction,” he said. 

More than 60 people have been killed in the past three months in Baringo,Turkana and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties. Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, who met leaders from counties a fortnight ago, ordered the arrest of people inciting residents against each other and those said to be funding the conflicts.

Leaders from the region have faulted the government for disarming National Police Reservists, exposing residents to armed bandits. But the government has defended the move, arguing that some officers were misusing their firearms.

-Wycliffe Kipsang

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