Bandits torch school in Laikipia as tension builds

Heavily armed bandits on Tuesday afternoon torched a school in Laikipia West as tension continued to build in the area that has been ravaged by insecurity.

In a brazen attack, the bandits torched Mirigwiti Primary School before engaging security officers in a brief gunfight before they fled.

The attack happened as Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya launched a security operation about four kilometres away in Ol Moran town.

The incident comes a day after Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i announced a major security operation to flush out illegal occupants of bandit-prone areas in Laikipia County.

According to Rift Valley Regional Coordinator, Mirigwiti is among schools that were closed down due to the insecurity in Laikipia.

“There were no pupils in school as the school is among those that were recently shut down due to insecurity in the area,” stated Mr Natembeya.

“We will be ruthless and we will flush out all the bandits from the region. We cannot tolerate this height of criminality,” added the administrator who arrived in the area minutes after the bandits fled.

Police officers pursuing bandits who torched Merigwiti Primary School in Laikipia West on September 7, 2021./Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

Sophisticated firearms

Mr Natembeya said that the bandits are using heavy and sophisticated firearms.

“While our officers are using AK-47 and G3 rifles, they are using M16 and other heavy rifles,” he said, adding that the weapons are those used by soldiers from foreign countries who come to train in Kenya.

“We don’t know how they get these heavy weapons, but it is an issue that needs a thorough investigation,” said Mt Natembeya.

On Monday, the government imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the restive areas of Laikipia Nature Conservancy and its environs. CS Matiang’i termed them disturbed areas.

In a statement issued on Monday, Dr Matiang’i said the directive affects parts of the expansive conservancy, which has been turned into a hideout for armed bandits.

The conservancy is owned by conservationist and author Kuki Gallmann.

Two weeks ago attackers also set ablaze an education centre belonging to the conservationist.

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