Knut now wants Baringo teachers to arm themselves 

Kapindasum Primary School

A police officers patrol inside a classroom while a lesson is in progress at Kapindasum Primary School in Baringo South on October 7, 2019. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Knut has blamed perennial attacks in the region on the proliferation of illegal guns.
  • The teachers' union said learning institutions are supposed to be safe places for all learners.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) now wants teachers in banditry-prone areas in Baringo County to arm themselves given the persisting insecurity.

Knut Baringo branch has asked the government to allow teachers to arm themselves since they are not assured of safety.

This comes following the killing of a deputy headteacher at Tuluk Primary School in Baringo North.

The teacher, who had gunshot wounds, was found dead on Sunday morning a few meters from Tuluk shopping centre following a suspected bandit attack.

According to residents, the late Elijah Simotwo, 57, was last seen at the shopping centre on Saturday around 10pm.

Baringo County Police Commander Julius Kiragu said the teacher's body was found in the morning with gunshot wounds on his chest.

"The circumstances under which the teacher was killed have not been established. Residents claim he was last seen at the shopping centre at 10pm. We are still trying to establish exactly what transpired," said Mr Kiragu.

The teacher’s killing brought to six the number of people killed in the locality in five days.

Cases of bandit attacks in insecurity-prone villages persist even after the government mounted operation Maliza Uhalifu North Rift to disarm and flush out the armed criminals last year.

“The only things teachers carry are pen and books. If they are not assured of their safety, then they should be allowed to own guns to protect themselves,” said Bishop Joshua Cheptarus, the Knut Executive Secretary.

He said the union will mobilise teachers in the region to protest until all illegal arms in the hands of civilians are seized if the government does not do anything to restore security in the troubled areas.

“We are asking teachers in banditry-prone schools in this region who feel insecure to report to the Ministry of Education because we do not want to lose any other teacher to banditry again,” said the unionist.

The teachers’ union has blamed perennial attacks in the region on the proliferation of illegal guns and is concerned that this has paralysed learning and development in the affected areas.

The Knut official said learning institutions that are supposed to be safe places for all learners, are today targets of armed bandits, resulting in displacement and trauma among children.

The teacher’s killing has ignited tension in banditry-prone villages, with locals claiming that they cannot go on with their daily activities as they fear armed criminals roaming the villages freely.

A week ago, five people were killed by bandits in the same locality where the teacher was murdered. Three family members, including a two-year-old child, were shot dead and three others were seriously wounded in a fresh bandit attack along the insecurity-prone Yatya-Chemoe road in Baringo North Sub-County.

“If the State will not restore order, then we will go to the streets until we are assured of our safety,” said Bishop Cheptarus, adding that some police reservists were misusing their guns.

“The government should step up its efforts in restoring order in the affected areas. It is worrying that despite the presence of a contingent of security officers deployed in the villages, locals still feel insecure,” he said.