Exam centres in areas prone to bandit attacks to be relocated

Students alighting from a police truck in Kapedo, Turkana. January 2021. [Courtesy]

The government has assured parents and candidates from the volatile areas of the Rift Valley who will sit national exams from February 28 to April 1 of their security during the period.

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Mohamed Maalim on Thursday chaired a security meeting in Nakuru where they mapped out hot spots, especially in Kerio Valley, which have recently been attacked by bandits.

“We have made adequate security arrangements which have been a major concern. We shall deploy enough personnel in the examination centers and others to patrol the areas,” said Maalim.

On February 18, a Tot Secondary School bus ferrying students was sprayed with bullets by bandits. The driver was killed instantly and 15 students and two teachers were injured.

Maalim noted that profiling of persons involved in the attack was ongoing and those identified are under investigation by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

“These are few criminals in the society. We are going to deal with them. We have deployed several platoons of GSU and ASTU officers. They have already managed to foil several attacks,” he said.

The examinations also come at a time when the region has started experiencing heavy rains which have in the past disrupted the distribution of test materials and hampered movement of education officials.

“Government vehicles shall be made available to facilitate transport," he said.

"Where motor vehicles won’t access we shall have motorbikes and standby helicopters for extreme situations.”

It is feared that the current insecurity in the counties of West Pokot, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet and parts of Laikipia will cause some candidates to miss their exams.

Maalim revealed that five schools in West Pokot have been affected.

“Some of these had been closed due to insecurity. We have relocated their candidates so they can sit their exams safely,” he said.

Relocation however poses a challenge to the candidates as it means they would have to walk for long distances at time security is not at its best. 

“Some of the centres they have been relocated to will be converted into temporary boarding facilities. Part of the relief food released for ASAL areas will be sent to these centres during the exam period,” Maalim said.