A total of 238 boys in Tirioko Location, Tiaty West Sub-county of Baringo will continue with their basic education after being rescued from a forced traditional circumcision.
The three month long traditional rite of passage would have marked the end of the education for the boys since they graduate into Morans and could immediately marry and start a family.
The area chief Carlos Kapkoikat conducted the operation alongside 20 police officers and Tirioko Zone curriculum support officer (CSO) Moses Kamkan in an ambush that lasted for over four hours.
The Chief said the minors from Kabunyany and Chemayes Primary Schools who are barely 10 years of age were heading to a nearby thicket to undergo the rite of passage which would mean that they would have stayed for another three months out of school.
“I had to seek reinforcement of police officers after I got a tip off from one resident that the boys had been assembled for the rite of passage,” the chief said.
Kapkoikat blamed parents who were encouraging their children to skip school in order for them not to miss their age set which lasts for 10 years.
He regretted the boys would in turn miss a lot of studies at the expense of a cultural practice that does not promote transformation of society.
The chief added that under normal circumstances, the male circumcision was to start from November until beginning of January, during holidays and this would have allowed them to embark on their schooling after that but this year their sapana cultural festival took quite some time.
Kapkoikat stated that Chemayes Primary School with 412 pupils recorded an overall attendance of six pupils on Wednesday and 15 on Thursday.
The Chief pointed out that the changes in the education calendar occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic also interfered with the community cultural calendar whereby the pupils were back in school during the time they would undergo the practice.
He added that his office has instructed seven village elders to ensure that they keep a keen eye on any child who will be circumcised over the next three months when schools have been reopened. “The seven village elders shall be responsible if any boy will be circumcised this period,” he warned.
The practice is also believed to contribute to rampant cattle rustling in Baringo South, North, Tiaty west and East and the neighbouring counties that results in loss of lives and properties.
The practice also hampers the growth of literacy levels in the area which is among the lowest in the country.
By Benson Kelio and Christopher Kiprop