Evans Kiprono was exuberant after a thrilling tour of Lake Baringo. The Tot Secondary School student sat on the left side in the middle of the bus, chatting with fellow boys and girls.
Kiprono, 17, and his classmates were excited after the tour to the lake which has no visible outlet and with a sizeable species of birds. They had only learnt about it in class.
The 140 Form Two students were ferried in three buses. Apart from their school bus, Tot Secondary School administration hired one from Kerio Valley Secondary School and another from Mogil Secondary.
They left their school located in the volatile Kerio Valley in Elgeyo Marakwet County at 3am on Thursday to arrive at Lake Baringo on time.
After a day of learning and picnicking, the students boarded the buses and left Baringo a few minutes to 5pm on Thursday. They were slowly manoeuvring the numerous turns on the Kabarnet-Iten road. They passed the scenic Cheploch gorge and later took a turn towards Kerio Valley through the 80km Biretwo-Arror-Tot road to their school.
But less than 2km after Arror trading centre, at around 10pm, armed assailants sprayed bullets at Mogil Secondary School Bus, killing driver Andrew Kosgei on the spot and injuring 13 students.
Two teachers who were in the Mogil bus sustained gunshot injuries. They are still admitted at Mediheal Hospital in Eldoret.
The night attack happened near Chesuman Primary School in Marakwet West.
“We heard gunshots and the bus started reversing. I was sitting near the window. The bandits kept on shooting at the bus so I ducked to avoid the bullets.
“However, I was hit on the shoulder,” Kiprono narrates from his bed at Kapsowar Mission Hospital.
Kiprono’s mother says she got a phone call from a teacher that her son had been shot.
“I called police officers based in Chesongoch and they sent an ambulance to the scene. We pray for peace in Kerio Valley because this is no longer about cattle rustling.”
At the hospital, Sylvia Loserekow is recovering after surgery. She sustained gunshot injuries on her legs.
“I felt pain and later numbness. Other students were running out of the bus but I couldn’t because my legs weren’t moving.”
She continues: “I am lucky to survive. My parents were killed by bandits and my brother has been taking care of me.”
Kapsowar Mission Hospital CEO Stanley Mutwol said they are treating six students from Kerio Valley attacks.
“Since the beginning of the year, we have received school-going children. Most of them are traumatised,” Mutwol said.
Elgeyo Marakwet County Commander Patrick Lumumba said the bandits are suspected to be from Tiaty in Baringo.