Students of Lokichogio Mixed Secondary School inside an aircraft at the Eldoret International Airport before they were transferred to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital
 
  • Six killed after the student from South Sudan who had been suspended from the institution over indiscipline executes revenge mission
  • The attacker raped his girlfriend in a nearby ticket before killing five students and guard.

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Five students and a night guard were killed when a student led a brutal attack at Lokichogio Mixed Secondary School in Turkana County yesterday.

The South Sudanese, who is in Form One, is suspected to have led a militia from the neighbouring country into one of the dormitories where they sprayed students with bullets, leaving in their wake a trail of blood.

The student, identified as Abraham Lochere, reportedly raped his girlfriend from the same school in a nearby thicket before opening fire on learners in dormitories, leaving 18 students with gunshot wounds

Turkana West OCPD David Nyabuto said the attacker, who was later killed by angry villagers, had been suspended from the institution over indiscipline.

John Lochor, a resident, narrated that the attackers arrived at 11pm at the school which is about 215km from Lodwar, the administrative capital of Turkana County. “The attackers struck at around 11 in the night and it was between 2am to 3am when they started shooting the students and watchman,” said Lochor.

The armed attackers gained access to the school after killing the guard.

“He wanted to get hold of the the school headmaster but fortunately the head teacher had left for home earlier. He could not contain his anger and that is when he turned against fellow students and shot at them indiscriminately,” added Lochor.

Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital Director Wilson Aruasa checks on a student

This was corroborated by the police. “The student from South Sudan is reported to have been suspended. He was very angry at the decision and vowed to avenge the action. He came back with others and shot the students,” said the OCPD.

Traumatising

It emerged that Lochere was suspended alongside another student from the local community because they had fought in school.

“The student from South Sudan is reported to have been suspended. He was very angry at the decision and vowed to avenge the action. He came back with others and shot the students,” said the OCPD.

Another resident Hellen Ajikon said: “He came back and took his girlfriend. He raped her in the bush then came to the dormitory and shot indiscriminately.”

The gunmen stormed the institution then killed the night guard before they proceeded to the boys’ dormitory. The attackers, believed to be more than five, then moved to the girls’ dormitory where they opened fire.

In the process, the boys who were woken up by gunfire, attempted to rescue the girls and that is when the raiders opened fire. Samuel Erukudi, a Form One, said the attack seemed to have been well planned.

He narrated that they heard gunshots and thought police were responding to a criminal incident outside the school compound. But the gunfire intensified before a bullet hit their dormitory.

Erukudi saw the attackers shoot his friend, nor realising that he too been shot in the leg. “I felt some warmth on one of my feet before I realised that I had been shot,” he said.

Students and villagers inside the classrooms where assailants sprayed bullets on learners

The students tried to repulse the attackers by hurling stones at the raiders but they were forced to take cover from the heavy gun fire.

The county was in mourning as innocent students became victims of a rogue learner, who marshalled members of Toposa militia from South Sudan who then raided the school.

Turkana County administration, Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) officials and other rescuers who arrived at the scene described a desperate situation as they coordinated efforts to assist victims.

The critically injured were first rushed to the nearby Lodiping health centre before arrangements were made to airlift them to better equipped facilities in Kakuma, Lodwar and Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret.

“It is a traumatising situation but we are doing everything we can to support the affected families. The students who were injured are currently being ferried to Lodwar County Referral Hospital by ambulances,” said one of the first responders.

KRCS Rift Valley regional manager Michael Aiyabei coordinated the rescue efforts and by noon, they were making arrangement to airlift those who were critically injured.

He said an information centre had been set up at the school.

Because of the severity of some of these injuries, African Medical and Research Foundation teams were on standby to provide airlifts.  A resident regretted that the attack happened despite the school’s proximity to a GSU camp.

Later, Dr Robert Owino, in charge of Lopiding medical facility, confirmed that five bodies of students and the night guard were in the mortuary. He said 18 students were taken to the facility but four who were in critical condition were airlifted to MTRH in Eldoret.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok led leaders in condemning the attack and called for a speedy and thorough investigations.

“It is a very sad day for our county. I am informed that two girls were raped during the heinous attack whose motive is yet to be known. We hope that justice will be done. It is very sad and unimaginable,” said the governor.

Other leaders weighed in with area Woman MP Joyce Emanikor accusing the police of laxity.

“The incident is indeed sad and unfortunate. While condemning this beastly act from our neighbours, I strongly decry the security situation in the county. I am unhappy with the response of security forces in Lokichoggio who took too long to respond despite pleas and calls. Who are they protecting if not the lives of Kenyans? The IG should take immediate action,” said Emanikor.

Turkana Senator Charles Ekal called on South Sudan officials to get to the bottom of the matter and bring to book suspects behind the killings.

He called for a joint meeting with the officials for quick intervention saying the innocent students did not deserve to die.

Senator Ekal said they have coexisted peacefully with all neighbours and the attack was shocking.

Education PS Belio Kipsang receives injured students at the Eldoret International Airport

Critical injuries

Even as the criticism over the response continued, there were fears that casualties could increase as some of the victims had critical injuries following the Lokichogio attack.

Turkana County Referral Hospital superintendent Dr Gichrist Lokoel said some of the injuries were severe. “Some student sustained abdominal penetrative injuries and require quick medical attention.”