North Rift schools rising from the ashes of banditry

Tuesday, August 8th, 2023 01:00 | By
Interior CS Kithure Kindiki (centre) is taken on a tour of Arabal Primary School in Baringo county in January. The school, which was vandalised by bandits, is among those being reconstructed by KDF. PHOTO/Kevin Macharia
Interior CS Kithure Kindiki (centre) is taken on a tour of Arabal Primary School in Baringo county in January. The school, which was vandalised by bandits, is among those being reconstructed by KDF. PHOTO/Kevin Macharia

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) has started the reconstruction of schools vandalised during raids in the banditry-prone North Rift.

Schools in Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Turkana and West Pokot counties will be rehabilitated at the cost of Sh100 million.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale, who toured the area to inspect the works, said education was one of the lasting solutions to silencing the guns in the region where thousands of people have been killed over the years in bandit attacks.

“We will ensure that we rebuild all the schools for learning to resume after many years of closure. And no one else is carrying out the exercise but our soldiers,” Duale said at Chesitet Primary School in Tiaty Sub-County, Baringo.

Some of the soldiers are busy rebuilding the vandalised schools as their colleagues keep guard.

According to Duale, the government intends to rebuild more than 20 vandalised schools in banditry prone counties in the North Rift in a bid to open up the area.

He said that apart from rehabilitating the destroyed schools, the government will also open up the road network in the area and provide water and relief food to needy residents.

Local leaders led by Turkana East MP Nicholas Ngikor and his Tiaty counterpart William Kamket have lauded the government’s rehabilitation project and vowed to be in the forefront in preaching peaceful co-existence in the region.

“Time has come for us to discard retrogressive cultural practices as pastoralists and take our children to school. We should co-exist peacefully as brothers for any meaningful development to be realised in this region,” said Ngikor.


Kamket said the opening up of the area will spur economic development which he said will scare away bandits who have been wreaking havoc in the region for many years.

“You know bandits are allergic to development and they will automatically disappear from this area,” he said.

Early this year, the government declared six counties in the North Rift namely Turkana, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Laikipia and Samburu as “disturbed” and “dangerous” and rolled out a massive security operation led by the Kenya Police Service (KPS) assisted by KDF.

According to Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki the ongoing security operation had achieved a lot in restoring peace in the region.

“We are committed to ensuring that this place remains out of bounds to bandits for the rest of our time,” said Kindiki when he toured the area last week.

The government has trained more than 200 National Police Reservists (NPRs) who will assist security personnel in beefing up security in the banditry prone region.

Kindiki has instructed the National Government Administration Officers (NGAOs), among them County Commissioners in the six counties, to take the lead in the recovery of all stolen livestock.

“Our officers from KDF and the National Police Service are working seamlessly to ensure that the ongoing operation to pacify the North Rift region succeeds,” added the CS.

Food production

The government has established a security camp at Kolowa at the border of Tiaty constituency in Baringo County and Marakwet East in Elgeyo-Marakwet.

According to Kindiki, the camp will have specialised security officers and will remain active even after the ongoing operation.

Governors in the region have pledged to distribute seeds to farmers in a bid to encourage them to go back to food production.

“Let us all speak out and flush out these criminals. A criminal has no tribe. A criminal has no relatives. Let’s all work together for a peaceful Kerio Valley,” said Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi.

In February, the government termed the security situation in the North Rift as a “national emergency” with more than 100 civilians and 24 police officers killed in the last six months alone.

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