Low key return to school as learning resumes in Laikipia

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 00:00 |
Tumaini Primary School pupils go on with classwork at St Mark Catholic Church in Ol Moran. Most schools remained closed despite a government order for them to open yesterday. Photo/PD/RAPHAEL MUNGE

Learning in troubled Ol Moran area of Laikipia county resumed yesterday with only a few pupils and teachers reporting to their schools.

At Ol Moran Primary School, only 65 pupils and three teachers attended the morning parade but the head teacher, James Timeka hoped more would report in coming days.

A spot check by People Daily revealed deserted schools and low pupil turnout.

“We are expecting more teachers to report back to work. Security agencies have assured us of enough security and currently two security officers are patrolling the school,” said Timeka.

 The teacher said he had told the pupils not to panic if they see police officers in the school and its surrounding since “they are here to provide security to us.”

 At Miharati Primary School, all the teachers and pupils stayed away with Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya blaming the situation on the fact that it is located at the epicenter of the conflict zone.

 “Most people have fled their homes in Miharati village and are yet to return to their homes and this is why we don’t have learners at the school,” Natembeya said at Kisii Ndogo village.

  At Mirigwet Primary School where a section of classes were torched last week by bandits, only two learners reported. The section that was razed is yet to be repaired.

 The management of Tumaini Primary School that is run by the St Mark Ol Moran Catholic church has relocated their pupils to the church which is located in Ol Moran township where  learning is going on.

 Tumaini Primary school is located near the volatile Laikipia Nature Conservancy.  The month long violence affected 16 out of 21 schools in the area.

 “We are happy that learners have started trooping back to school, we also have a significant number of teachers.

We expect that by tomorrow (Tuesday) we will have a good number of students who will have returned back to school,” the Rift Valley Regional Commissioner said.

Security forces

  He urged parents to take back their children to school saying that security forces had made tremendous progress.

“There are no bandits. We don’t expect them to come and attack learners with all the heavy presence of security officers we are having in this area.

  “We have managed to clean up the area and bandits have fled. They are only inside the Laikipia Nature Conservancy,” added Natembeya. 

On July 28, Matiang’i gave the herders seven days to leave Laikipia and go back to where they came from or be forcefully evicted.

It is after the ultimatum that the conflict took a serious dimension with the attacks now occurring in broad daylight while schools started closing as locals fled to safe zones in urban centres.

It is at this point that the National Security Advisory Council met and declared Laikipia Nature Conservancy and its surroundings as a “disturbed area” and ordered an operation to calm the situation.

 The government also created a new sub- county called Kirima whose headquarters will be Ol Moran town.

Construction of a police division has already commenced with Matiang’i breaking ground for its building during his two day visit last week.

 Matiang’i said 100 police officers will be attached to the newly created police division; that is increasing the number of police officers in the troubled area tenfold.

 “Already a DCC has reported to the newly created sub county and other government and security officials including a sub county security team will be deployed.

We have started setting up uni-huts to accommodate the officers as we await for the completion of permanent structures,” said Matiang’i

 The new police structures will be a joint project between the National government and the county government of Laikipia.

Governor Ndiritu Muriithi announced the County government will give Sh20 million towards the project.

Matiang’i announced Luniyek and Survey Police posts will be upgraded into police stations and more officers deployed.

 “This part of Laikipia needs much more sustainable policing than we have done before. his is not one of those places we come in to stabilise and leave. We are going to be here for a long while.

The issues surrounding the Laikipia Nature Conservancy and the border with Baringo will be solved.

We are going to come up with a more comprehensive framework of addressing the challenges,” the minister promised.

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