Brazen bandit turns local school into home for his two wives after villagers flee: Kindiki

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki gestures as he addresses members of the Senate Security Committee at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi on March 1, 2023. 

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

A bandit has seized a primary school block in Baringo County and turned it into his home in a brazen show of impunity.

The criminal has converted the school’s classrooms into bedrooms and allocated them to members of his family.

Kindiki: Bandit turned school into home for his two wives

In a shocking revelation by Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki on Wednesday, senators heard the Standard Eight classroom is now the man’s bedroom while the Standard Seven one belongs to his first wife.   

The man’s second wife sleeps in the Standard Six classroom while his first-born child has taken up Standard Five.

Appearing before the Senate’s National Cohesion committee, Mr Kindiki said the bandits have terrorised Baringo South and Baringo North leading to the closure of 21 schools.

Although the government has managed to reopen 14 learning institutions, the school, which the CS did not name, is among seven that remain closed.

The remaining seven, the CS said, were completely destroyed but Sh100 million has been secured to rebuild them and reopen them next term.

The CS at the same time vowed that the ongoing security operation in the banditry-prone north will be sustained until the menace is eradicated.

Prof Kindiki told the senators that part of the elaborate security plans by the government will see the region populated with enough security personnel, who will not leave the six affected counties until all bandits are cleared and the region is safe.

Prof Kindiki told the committee led by Marsabit Senator Mohamed Chute that the government has set aside Sh20 billion to acquire sophisticated weapons as part of a police modernisation programme.

Two weeks ago, the CS declared six counties in the North Rift as ‘disturbed and dangerous’ following a wave of banditry attacks that left several people, including security officers, dead.

The counties are Turkana, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Laikipia and Samburu counties where President William Ruto ordered the deployment of Kenya Defence Forces and other security officers.

“We must make it painful for the criminals and lawbreakers who have made our life unbearable. I want to assure you we will win this battle. We will crush the bandits,” he added. 

Disarmament exercise

He said the government will continue with a disarmament exercise targeting all illegal guns in the north and other parts of the country. The CS said the three-day grace period to surrender guns will not be extended, adding that 43 guns, 136 rounds of ammunition, two fragmented rifle grenades and three rocket-propelled grenades have been voluntarily surrendered since the operation began. 

Pledging to become “the minister who will lead the team to finish this banditry menace” once and for all, Prof Kindiki told the senators that securing the north is integral to the country’s economic development due to its abundant resources. 

Prof Kindiki said the criminal activities that are persisting in the region create a fertile breeding ground for terrorism. He said hundreds of security personnel have lost their lives in banditry attacks. 

Turkana Senator James Lomenen raised the issue of porous borders.

“How do the bandits get their ammunition? Do they get them from the police, army, Uganda or do they have their own factories?” Mr Lomenen asked. Prof Kindiki said Kenyan officials have met with their Ugandan counterparts to seal all escape routes used by the bandits.

Last week, East Africa Community (EAC) CS Rebecca Miano and Interior PS Raymond Omollo met with Ugandan officials in Moroto where they discussed security concerns.

Nominated Senator Joyce Korir pointed an accusing finger at political leaders who, she said, know the financiers of the criminals as they are people living within their communities.

Mr Kindiki vowed to spare no politician aiding and abetting banditry. 

He said President Ruto has said he is willing to lose political support to end the banditry menace. “If you fall afoul of the law, it will not matter which side of the political divide you belong to”

Nominated Senator Raphael Chimera criticised the government for its knee-jerk reactions to the insecurity situation.