Armed bandits kill child, steal livestock in West Pokot, Baringo attacks

Crime scene

Melmoh Omidoh, a Chesegon resident, said tension has remained high in the area since Thursday morning, when gunshots were heard.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Armed bandits on Thursday staged attacks in West Pokot and Baringo counties, where they gunned down a child in and stole livestock.

In West Pokot, bandits shot a Grade Six learner at Tirap Primary School in Chesegon on Thursday morning, West Pokot County Commissioner Apollo Okello confirmed on Thursday evening.

The learner was in the company of three others and they were searching for mangoes when they were ambushed by the bandits. The incident occurred at Chesegon near Cheptulel Boys High School, about two kilometers from where police stay at the stalled Chesegon technical institute.

The incident resulted in tension along the border of West Pokot- Elgeyo Marakwet, with the attackers, suspected to have come from the neighboring county.

And on Thursday evening, bandits also staged an attack in the volatile Chemoe village in Baringo North and made away with livestock.

The attack happened at the shopping centre, which is a few metres from the Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) camp, on a day that joint security troops spent hours bombing the Tandare valley next to the Korkoron hills, where bandits are believed to be hiding.

It happened barely a day after the criminals killed a man in the neighboring Kagir village and stole livestock.

On Wednesday, bandits attacked Kagir village, Baringo North, at dawn, shooting dead a 44-year-old and driving away more than 200 livestock, while in Turkana South, they launched an attack at Lorogon village, killing 25-year-old Erukudi Lotit. They did not steal any livestock.

Still, in Baringo North, bandits attacked mid-morning in the Chemoriongion area, but after a fierce gunfight with security officers, they were repulsed.

In the Thursday morning incident in Chesegon, eight bandits believed to be from the neighboring community ambushed the four children, fatally shooting Regan Kaywa Kibor, 15. The other three unidentified minors escaped. Like the killing that happened in Turkana on Wednesday, no animals were stolen during the attack.

"Police officers have been deployed in the area to reduce tension and hunt down the bandits,” Mr Okello confirmed, saying the motive of the killing has not been established since the attackers did not steal anything.

The child’s body was taken to Kapenguria County Referral Hospital mortuary where it has been preserved, awaiting autopsy.

“Our security team is on the ground pursuing the bandits,” he said.

Arising from the insecurity situation in the disturbed areas in West Pokot, the population of teachers and learners in the region has drastically dropped.

“Learners and teachers from the Marakwet side are no longer coming to school because they fear being attacked. This has affected education in this region, said Tirap Primary head teacher Eliud Egoo.

Melmoh Omidoh, a Chesegon resident, said tension has remained high in the area since Thursday morning, when gunshots were heard.

Sigor MP Peter Lochakapong condemned the incident saying it was unfortunate coming amidst a security operation to flush bandits out of the region. He said many schools in the area have been affected by insecurity.

“Our children are no longer safe. We need at least four National Police Reservists at every school. The security team is not telling the truth when it says that no school has been shut down,” he said.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) West Pokot Secretary Martin Sembelo said the bandit attacks have paralyzed learning in the region.

“We need more NPRs and police officers in schools or we shall tell our teachers not to report to unsafe areas,” he said.

Two months ago, bandits shot dead two school girls at Ketut village in Marakwet East and made away with hundreds of livestock

Five months ago, a Standard five pupil at Turkwel Primary school and his father were gunned down while herding their livestock near river Malmate.

Earlier, bandits had shot down a driver of a Tot High school bus and injured 15 students in the Arror area.

Bandits also killed a teacher outside the gate of   Kipyeobu Primary school, a few kilometers from where the Tot school bus was attacked.