All schools in banditry-prone areas in Baringo that had been closed will now be manned by the 10 National Police Reservists and five police officers to ensure safety of the learners, ahead of school re-opening next week, Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Abdi Hassan has said.
Dr Hassan on Thursday disclosed that the security agencies will work round the clock to ensure that all the eight schools that had been shut due to insecurity in Baringo South and Baringo North sub-counties are re-opened as per the presidential directive.
“We want to re-open all schools and each of the schools will be allocated 10 NPRs and five police officers will provide 24 hour-security to the learning centres,” said the administrator.
According to the security official, the State was undertaking a security operation in the region to restore peace.
He added: “Outside these schools, they are also assisted by other security personnel like Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU), GSU and other specialized units deployed to the areas.”
On Wednesday, Dr Hassan led a team of high-ranking security officials and local leaders to visit schools in Baringo South and other areas to assess the situation ahead of re-opening of the schools next week.
“We are implementing the presidential directive and we expect all learners to report back to school. We will be there on Monday to supervise the resumption of learning,” added the administrator.
Some of the schools that have been closed for several months due to insecurity include Kapindusum, Arabal, Ngelecha, Rugus in Baringo South.
Last month, President William Ruto directed immediate former regional coordinator Maalim Mohammed to ensure that all schools in Baringo North and Baringo South are re-opened by January 23.
“We will not allow schools to remain closed because we shall be losing a whole generation. I have asked the Regional Commissioner to use all means to ensure the closed schools are re-opened by January 23,” said Dr Ruto during a function in Baringo County.
Some of the schools in insecurity prone areas have remained closed for long despite deployment of armed security personnel to restore calm among warring pastoral communities.
They border conflict prone Baringo South and Baringo North sub-counties where hundreds of families have been displaced by perennial attacks caused by cattle raids and boundary disputes.
On Thursday, Dr Hassan also directed that all illegal herders that have become security threats must leave the areas to allow for normalcy in the region.
He disclosed that they are undertaking operations that will be used to forcefully flush out to restore peace in the region.
“My predecessor had issued an order to have them leave within two weeks. This period has elapsed and I want them to go back immediately so that the area and population can enjoy peace,” added Dr Hassan.
Local leaders led by Baringo County MP Florence Jematia and Baringo South MP Charles Kamuren are on record having raised concerns over the presence of the illegal herders particularly in parts of Baringo South and Baringo North that led to tension and posed security threat to the locals.
President Ruto has vowed to deal firmly with the banditry and restore peace across the country.
“We have had issues of insecurity for many years. . . it is something that we will end because we want all our children to go school and residents engage in economic activities and improve their livelihoods,” stated the head of State in the recent past.