Kisumu-Kericho border clashes instill fear among teachers, children


Moulyne Achieng mourns her 58-year-old father outside Nyabondo funeral home after being killed in fresh ethnic clashes along the Kisumu- Kericho border. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Learning in schools along the volatile Kisumu-Kericho border has been paralysed following the frequent ethnic clashes that have rocked the region in recent months. Teachers from the region fear for their lives following persistent attacks on their colleagues and have appealed to the government to beef up security in schools.

One of the teachers who was attacked last week is battling for his life in the ICU at a hospital in Kisumu.

Kevin Bondo, a teacher at Agai Secondary School, was slashed several times by attackers.

Yesterday, his wife Masline Akinyi said the attackers targeted his husband and left him for dead. "We first rushed him to Nyabondo Hospital, but they referred him to Aga Khan for specialised treatment," she said.

Akinyi appealed to the government to beef up security as she sought justice for her husband and the families and victims of the latest Sondu clashes. Seven people were killed in the recent wrangles, with several others nursing serious injuries.

Teachers and learners are in fear every day because of the border clashes. According to Odhong' Primary School Head Teacher Erick Wadegu, learners have even stopped going to school, even after relative calm returned to the region.

Protect themselves

Wadegu said young people are now forced to walk around with weapons to protect themselves from the attackers. "Whenever the clashes erupt, my learners request to go home to protect their parents from the attacks, which is very unfortunate," he said.

He said learning in the schools around the area has stopped indefinitely as no one is sure when next the attacks are going to happen.

He said the matter has affected both learners and teachers. "As others are learning and rushing to complete the syllabus, our students are forced to be out of classes," said Wadegu.

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) officials in Kisumu said the situation will affect the learners who are scheduled to sit for national exams. The union's Secretary for Kisumu, Zablon Awange, said they have received a lot of complaints from teachers who are now exploring transfers to other regions.

"This week, a teacher was hacked with a machete on the neck, head and body and left for the dead. This is very unfortunate," said Awange.

Early this year, the Deputy Principal of Agai Secondary Erick Omonge, was attacked after another spate of ethnic clashes. Awange said the union has petitioned the Teachers Service Commission to transfer teachers to secure areas until security is restored.