Schools open in Kerio Valley as peace agreement holds
SEE ALSO :Krop is poised to reclaim titleMr Kituyi said the prevailing calm would give teachers room to prepare students for the upcoming Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations. “We are happy that this time round the reopening was smooth. We needed the peace for our programmes to go on without interference. The turnout is not 100 per cent yet, but we expect all learners to report by tomorrow,” Kituyi told The Standard. He added: “We are embarking on the delivery of the national examinations in collaboration with security officials.” Kamelei, Kamelei B, Kipsitona, Tenderwa, Kalya and Liter primary schools had been listed as the most affected institutions. Learners often reported back two weeks after the official opening dates and it was common for studies to be disrupted in the course of the term by bandit attacks.
SEE ALSO :Landslide victims face bleak ChristmasThe attacks claimed lives of about 110 people and thousands of livestock, according to reports by security agencies. Offer scholarships Ms Kibor said they would offer full scholarship to children from West Pokot County who enrolled in the school. The gesture, she noted, was aimed at promoting cohesion. The principal also explained that the student population had dropped from 420 to below 200 over the years due to insecurity. “I expect more transfers from the neighbouring counties to the school next year. Our aim is to ensure students from different communities learn and interact,” Kibor said.
SEE ALSO :Flood victims get Sh10mDuring the first day of school in third term last year, bandits raided villages neighbouring Kamelei, Tenderwa and Kalya schools along the Elgeyo Marakwet-West Pokot border and stole more than 60 cows and sheep. Joseph Kipchumba, a resident of Tenderwa area, said residents on both sides of the border were living in harmony following a series of meetings between elders and local leaders that resulted in a peace agreement and returning of stolen livestock. The peace accord between the Marakwet and Pokot communities was signed and witnessed by regional leaders, led by Deputy President William Ruto, West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo and his Elgeyo Marakwet counterpart Alex Tolgos. MPs from the three counties also joined in the efforts to create peace. “We have no problems at all. Our children went to school and we hope their learning will never again be disrupted by gunshots and cattle theft,” Mr Kipchumba said. Elgeyo Marakwet County Commissioner Ahmed Omar said security agencies increased surveillance and put in place measures to arrest anybody who threatened the peace. Mr Omar ordered residents with illegal firearms to return them to the Government or be arrested and prosecuted.
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