What you need to know:
- Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai said bandits shot a schoolboy in the left leg and a girl in the right arm in the latest incident last Wednesday
- The assailants posing as herders invaded Philadelphia Primary School and Agape Academy compounds near River Malimalite in Kainuk, Turkana South sub-county to forcefully graze their livestock
Armed bandits continue to wreak havoc in the North Rift region, resulting in killings and displacement of families.
Turkana leaders have consequently labelled the ongoing 'Operation Komesha Uhalifu in North Rift' aimed at flushing out bandits a publicity stunt, following a series of attacks on border residents and innocent school going children.
In the latest incident, assailants posing as herders on Wednesday invaded the Philadelphia Primary School and Agape Academy compounds near the River Malimalite in Kainuk, Turkana South sub-county, to forcefully graze their livestock.
Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai said the bandits shot a schoolboy in the left leg and a girl in the right arm in order to create fear at the schools and in the neighbourhood.
"It is disturbing that armed militia from the neighbouring Pokot community shot and injured innocent schoolchildren to forcefully graze livestock inside a public institution. The children are nursing bullet wounds at Kainuk Health Centre," Governor Lomorukai told reporters in Lodwar on Thursday.
He accused security officers in Kainuk of a ‘slow’ response to distress calls from locals to prevent the armed group from invading the schools and to flush them after the attack.
The governor, who was with his deputy John Erus and ward reps from Turkana East and Turkana South constituencies, said the attackers abandoned the livestock at the schools.
He said an ongoing security operation will be considered serious if the livestock stolen in the September 24 attack that left eight police officers, peace crusader Mary Ekai Kanyaman and Napeitom Senior Chief Gilbert Lomukuny dead in Namariat, Turkana East, are recovered.
Armed bandits, he claimed, were roaming freely in Lomelo, Lorogon, Kapelbok, Kainuk and Nakwamoru to scare the already vulnerable border residents who now can't access water sources.
"We call for the urgent deployment of 90 National Police Reservists as promised by the national government to secure our people," the governor said.
The leaders said bandits fled the security operation in Turkana East to settle in Turkana South, where they are terrorising locals.
Mr Samwel Aliwo, chairperson of the county assembly security committee, said the movement of armed bandits into Turkana South was provocative because it disregarded existing peace pacts.
"The Ministry of Interior should deal with bandits and disarm civilians with illegal firearms. Learning will be interrupted in all schools at the border if bandits won't be flushed out," said Mr Aliwo, the Lobokat ward MCA.
But County Police Commander Samwel Ndanyi said security agents were pursuing what he called peace spoilers in coordination with their counterparts from West Pokot.
"With the help of elders from the Pokot community, we are identifying the peace spoilers, especially the one who shot at children who were from school at the banks of River Malimalite," he said.
He said a security operation was underway in Kainuk to flush out suspicious herders with their livestock whose main aim is to disrupt peace.
"Security has been beefed up at both Philadelphia Primary School and Agape Academy to ensure that learning is not interrupted," Mr Ndanyi told the Nation by phone.