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Outrage mounts over killing of blind teacher by bandits

Human Rights activists led by former nominated Senator Harold Kipchumba have condemned last week’s killing of a blind teacher by bandits in Baringo North.

While the motive of the 55-year-old Thomas Kibet’s killing remains unclear, it has sparked outrage and calls for justice.

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Kibet, a head teacher at Kagir Primary School in Baringo North had survived an attack by bandits in 1978 when he was barely nine years old, but the bullet wounds he sustained at that time left him totally blind.

The former Senator noted that despite his disability the slain teacher continued to serve as an educator rising through the ranks over the years to be promoted to a head teacher adding that this spoke volumes about his passion for shaping young minds and contributing to the betterment of society.

Mr Kipchumba added that investigations should be conducted, and politicians and security officers found to be sympathizers of the bandits flushed out.

Addressing the media at a Nakuru hotel Mr Kipchumba urged the government to consider increasing the number of NPRs, who he said will complement the police.

“We are tired of losing our people every day. We are asking that more NPRs be deployed because they have local solutions that will greatly help in this case,” said the former lawmaker.

While noting that Article 54 of the Kenya Constitution provided for the rights of person’s living with disability including being treated with dignity and respect Mr Kipchumba indicated that the slain educationist’s remarkable courage and perseverance served as an inspiration to all who knew him

According to Baringo Police Commander Julius Kiragu, Mr was on a motorcycle with his wife and a child on their way to Kipcherere Secondary School in the same sub county for an Annual General Meeting (AGM) where the man’s other children learn when the armed bandits struck in Namba area.

He was shot in the head and died on the spot.

The motorcycle belonged to a police reservist (NPR), who was also the rider

Mr Kipchumba termed the attack “cowardly” and demanded swift action from authorities.

Mwangi Muraya from Nakuru Human Rights Defenders lobby called on the government to enhance security for teachers and launch investigations into the murder.

“No educator should ever have to fear for their safety while carrying out their noble duties. We vehemently condemn this cowardly act of violence and call upon the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice swiftly,” he said.

Kibet’s tragic end has reignited debate about the safety of educators in conflict-prone regions.

Mr Muraya called for more investment in grassroots intelligence gathering.

“This form of intelligence will also help track key weapon dealers, the sources and destinations of arms,” said the human rights lobbyist.

He acknowledged the ongoing security operation to restore peace and order in the region but noted that underlying causes of conflict remain largely unresolved.

“Conflict in the North Rift has a long history linked to ineffective approaches used to manage it. However, we appreciate the progress made in Operation Maliza Uhalifu,” Mr Muraya stated.

He linked the conflicts to scramble for natural resources, marginalization and lack of infrastructure.

Spokesman to the slain teacher’s family Mr Collins Chemjor said that there was urgent need to resolve the main challenges facing the local population among them poverty, illiteracy and proliferation of illegal arms.

“We also need to deal with retrogressive cultural practices such as livestock raids which have evolved into criminal commercial activity involving the youth,” said Chemjor.

He explained that most of the youth engage in revenge attacks due to a lack of economic opportunities as people he described as conflict entrepreneurs take advantage of them by purchasing and selling their loot to meat cartels.

“Without peace we shall never have sustainable development. Peace is a function of leadership. If all our leaders agree that conflicts in this area will end, we shall have no more conflicts,” said stated the spokesman.

Dennis Rasto
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