State steps up security at schools in bandit-prone areas
Security has been stepped up in the banditry-prone counties of the North Rift as the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination kicks off countrywide on Monday.
The move comes amid heightened tension in Baringo South and Baringo North sub-counties following the killing of eight people by armed bandits in the last 24 hours alone forcing residents to flee their homes fearing for their lives.
Fear and apprehension have gripped the region with some learners risking missing the exams as the situation threatens to get out of hand.
“The fate of many learners remains unknown. How are they expected to compete with their counterparts in other parts of the country under such harsh conditions? For how will we continue to witness such killings for the government to act,?” asked Baringo South MP Charles Kamuren.
The residents complained that the government has been talking tough on the insecurity menace ravaging the region but has done little to address their plight.
But Rift Valley regional coordinator Maalim Mohammed yesterday assured parents and learners in the region all candidates in the bandit prone counties will sit their exams.
“All students will be accommodated and will sit their exams as we have relocated them to safer grounds. All logistical arrangements have been put in place to ensure that the examination is not disrupted as all examination centres will be manned by enough security personnel,” said the administrator.
This comes at the backdrop of growing tension in Baringo North and Baringo South sub-counties following the killings. During the first attack on Friday, three people were shot dead at Kasiela in Baringo South sub-county by armed bandits from a neighbouring community.
Among the dead is a milk vendor who was riding on a motorcycle while the other two were shot dead when they were ambushed. Other deaths were also reported at Kapturo area of Baringo North following another banditry 9 attack on Friday evening.
According to Baringo County Commissioner Abdirasack Jaldesa, the bandits were shooting at anybody they met indiscriminately.
“We don’t know their motive. It seems they want to install fear on the residents and cause tension for people to flee the region,” said Jaldesa.
The killings came days after Mohammed, who toured Baringo accompanied by top Rift Valley security team announced the rollout of a forceful disarmament exercise in the region. This follows the lapse of the ultimatum the government had issued to herders in the region to surrender illegal firearms in their possession.
“We will not relent until we seize all illegal firearms in the wrong hands. We have mapped out all insecurity hot spots in Rift Valley,” warned the administrator.
According to Mohammed, profiling of persons involved in the attacks is ongoing and those identified are under investigation by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).