Children drop out of school as parents flee bandit attacks

Displaced families gather in Pura area, Samburu West. Thousands of people have been displaced following renewed conflicts between rival communities in Samburu West.

Photo credit: Geoffrey Ondieki | Nation Media Group

Miriam Letura, 15, was anxiously waiting for Tuesday, January 4, when she was to return to school for the third term at Pura Primary School in Samburu West.

Her parents had purchased her basics and she was ready for her final term as a Standard Seven pupil.

But luck was not on her side, as her parents had left the area due to insecurity.

Two people have been killed in renewed bandit attacks.

Her mother Josephine Letura said she was waiting for calm to return.

"The area is tense and everyone has left for fear of more attacks. We ask the government to take charge and restore normality so that our children can return to school," she told the Nation.

More than 200 learners at Pura Primary and adjacent schools are staying away from classes amid brazen bandit attacks.

Although no school has been closed down because of the attacks, many pupils are missing classes as more than 100 families fled their homes last month following renewed conflict between warring communities.

Pura Primary in Samburu central is the most affected.

More than three attacks have been reported across villages in the past one month alone. This has resulted in the killings of two people, including a police officer.

Hundreds of livestock have also been stolen by armed criminals despite heightened security.

Enough security personnel

But Samburu County Commissioner Abdirisack Jaldesa assured fleeing locals that security was adequate, urging parents to take their children back to school.

The administrator said the government had deployed enough security personnel, including the National Police Reservists (NPR), to patrol and beef up security at the school, hospitals and people’s homes.

“We have deployed enough security personnel and are working to restore normality. I urge parents to take their children to school without fear," he said.

The government deployed 90 NPRs in Samburu West to contain rampant cattle rustling after they completed a month-long training with the General Service Unit (GSU).

They are expected to work closely with local police officers to tame banditry in Pura, Longewan and the volatile border of Samburu and Baringo.

Mr Jaldesa said the NPRs received special training on human rights and tactics for tackling rustling. He said the officers will help security teams maintain peace and security.

“Their mandate will be to ensure citizens and their properties are protected," Mr Jaldesa said.

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