KNUT West Pokot branch urges teachers to quit troubled area along Pokot-Marakwet border

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West Pokot KNUT secretary Martin Sembelo (second left)
West Pokot KNUT secretary Martin Sembelo (second left)

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) West Pokot branch has asked its teachers to quit the troubled Kerio Valley and other unsafe areas along the West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet border. This follows sporadic banditry attacks and cattle rustling escalating in the area, the latest being the killing of a GSU officer at Pstonu area on Tuesday.

More than 5 people have been killed, thousands displaced and more than 500 livestock stolen since the year started.

The fate of more than 5000 learners hangs in a balance as they opt to stay at home because they fear attacks by bandits, bloody conflicts and constant battles between neighbouring communities.

More than ten schools in Central Pokot and Pokot South Sub Counties risk closure following the insecurity upsurge in the area. Some of the affected schools are Cheptulel Girls, Cheptulel Boys, Arpollo, Chesegon, among others.

Speaking to the press in Kapenguria, County KNUT Sectary Martin Sembelo gave an ultimatum to the government to address the issue and asked teachers to keep off schools until their safety is guaranteed by the state. “We can’t risk our teachers to go out and teach in hostile areas. We are telling our teachers that their lives are important than the jobs and shouldn’t risk by going to schools without proper security,” he said.

Sembelo called on the government to confiscate illegal guns in the area and that many teachers have fled the area to safer places. “We need security personnel in the County to move with maximum speed and minimum delay to deploy more security for pupils to learn well,” he said, “Security isn’t guaranteed for teachers and many have fled the area.”

He also asked the government to establish permanent security camps and anti-stock theft camp in the area. Mr. Sembelo further expressed concern over the recent spate of killings along the border of the two Counties, a situation that has also paralyzed learning in the region. He called on political leaders from West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet to talk to the residents on the matter.