Learning paralysed as armed bandits attack school buses
Learning has been paralysed in three secondary schools in Kerio Valley following a daring bandit attack on their convoy, which left one person dead on Thursday evening.
Heavily armed bandits attacked a convoy of three buses belonging to Tot Day School, Kerio Valley School and Mogil School.
The bandits attacked the Mogil bus, which was leading the convoy, killing the driver instantly.
A spot check by People Daily yesterday established that roads leading to the volatile region have been cut off, with vehicles plying the area suspending their services following the attack.
Many parents have also vowed not to take their children back to the schools until they are assured of their safety.
“We fear for the lives of our children. If the bandits can ambush them while on their way to school, how safe are they in school?” posed Gibson Tirboy, a parent.
During the attack, the students and their teachers were from an academic tour when they were ambushed near Chesuman Primary School in Marakwet West.
Bandits are said to have indiscriminately sprayed bullets at their buses, killing the driver of Mogil Secondary School instantly and severely injuring 13 students and two teachers. Eight of the injured were treated and discharged and are out of danger while two teachers and four students are admitted at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH), Eldoret.
Local leaders, among them Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Governor Alex Tolgos have condemned the attack and called on security personnel to track down and apprehend bandits wreaking havoc in the region.
“It is painful that the bandits no longer even spare innocent school children. This is unprecedented and shows that these bandits are merciless murderers,” said Tolgos.
Murkomen wondered why National Police Reservists (NPRs) have not been reinstated as promised by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i when he met leaders from the region in Nakuru a fortnight ago.
“For how long will we witness the killing of our people for the government to act? This madness should come to and end,” said Murkomen who visited the injured at MTRH yesterday.
Matiang’i and Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai have since directed the arrest and prosecution of principals of the three schools for flouting the Ministry of Education policy on night travel.
According to Matiang’i, the attack could have been avoided had the schools’ administration exercised caution and complied to the ministry’s policy on school transport beyond 6pm.
“NPS is investigating the incident with a view of holding the school administration responsible for their complicity in the attack,” warned Matiang’i.
Mutyambai said a multi-agency security operation team has since been deployed to the region to pursue the bandits, who are said to have fled towards the neighbouring Tiaty sub-county.
“The attack is callous, irresponsible and cowardly, targeting innocent passengers, especially school children is unacceptable and the National Police Service shall continue to deploy all resources and strategies at its disposal to arrest all acts of criminality targeting innocent citizens,” read a statement from the IG’s office.
Mutyambai has directed all commands in the country to enforce the Ministry of Education policy on night travel to avert such calamities, adding that those who flout the directive will be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
The deceased school driver brings to more than 60 people killed in the past three months in Baringo, Turkana and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties.