Bandits attack, kill three outside school gate in Kerio Valley

Three people have been shot dead in Kerio Valley as the bloodletting in the volatile area worsen.

The three, two women and a man were on their way to console a family that had lost their relative when they were attacked and killed by the assailants outside the gate of a primary school.

The two women in their mid-40s are said to have died on the spot while the man died while receiving treatment at Endo Mission Hospital.

Locals told The Standard that the suspected bandits about 15 in number were hiding in a nearby thicket before they opened fire on the victims just outside Liter Primary School.

The school borders Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot Counties.

Marakwet East deputy County Commissioner Simon Osumba confirmed the deaths and said additional police officers are on their way to the area.

Mr Osumba said suspected bandits had raided Lukuget Secondary school at 5am on Friday and attempted to steal livestock, but the attack was thwarted.

“We were still quelling tension in Lukuget Secondary School when we got information that another attack happened in Kaben. We can confirm that three people are dead. We are trying to restore calm,” Osumba said.

He said the bandits suspected to be from Tiaty in the neighbouring Baringo County attempted to steal the school’s goats, but they were repulsed by locals.

He said the bodies of the deceased persons have been moved to Tot Sub-County hospital mortuary.

Locals who spoke to The Standard said pupils who were sitting mock examinations fled the school after the 3pm attack.

Henry Kipkore said pupils and teachers scampered for safety after gunshots filled the air.

Kipkore said the attackers ran towards Cheptulel in West Pokot County, shooting in the air.

“The attackers, numbering about 15 left without stealing any livestock. Police officers at Liter Police Post tried to respond but they seemed overwhelmed,” Kipkore told The Standard.

He said residents have fled Kaben and Sambalat areas near the West Pokot border after the killings.

“The attack happened right at the gate of Liter Primary school. The attackers are still shooting in the air across the border,” he said.

A teacher said pupils were about to get out of their classrooms for games when gunshots filled the air.

“It was by sheer luck that learners were still in their classrooms. The school is now deserted,” the teacher said.

Elgeyo Marakwet Deputy Governor Wisely Rotich who was in the area to assure students at Lukiget Secondary school of their security said the insecurity situation has gotten out of hand.

“I am requesting the President to deploy the military because other security apparatus is helpless and the situation is getting worse each day,” Mr Rotich said.

He said one person was shot dead in the valley on Wednesday and another one on Thursday, bringing the cumulative death toll in the last seven months to 70.