The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) said yesterday that more than 50 schools in Kerio Valley had been closed due to bandit attacks.
Elgeyo Marakwet Knut branch secretary John Cheberi stated that the decision was prompted by an increase in attacks on school-aged children.
Mr. Cheberi said they have closed down all schools along the valley starting from Arror to Sambalat due to persistent banditry attacks that have threatened education in the region.
“We have reached a decision to close down all schools along the valley starting from Arror to Sambalat. We had announced earlier that if the banditry attacks continue to threaten education in the region, we will be forced to close schools for the sake of the lives of the students and their teachers,” said Mr. Cheberi.
He says that 13 secondary schools and 37 primary schools are currently closed due to the government’s failure to provide security.
The area has become so dangerous that children have been sprayed with bullets while playing outside.
“We wonder why the government is taking this issue lightly.”
County Education Director Japheth Masibo, on the other hand, denied the closure claims stating that the schools have reopened.
According to Masibo, there is an issue with insecurity, but they have never been a target.
He explained that only the Ministry of Education officials have the authority to order school closures.
Mr. Masibo says that three children were shot on Sunday while they were at home. Senator Kipchumba Murkomen of Elgeyo Marakwet said the situation in the valley is dire.
“As we talk, five bodies of victims of the banditry attacks are lying at the mortuary.”
He said the area has been losing lives on a weekly basis, but the relevant authorities have remained silent.
According to the senator, the restoration of peace in the region is the responsibility of the national government and should not be left to county leaders.
He noted that every right-thinking leader in this country should be troubled by the issue of insecurity.
“However, no one is putting in action and the people are vulnerable because there is no commitment by the government to bring the menace to an end.