Police in Lodwar town, Turkana County, were on Wednesday forced to shoot in the air to arrest a group of teachers for defying rules against the spread of the coronavirus.

Turkana Central Sub-county Police Commander David Mburukua said they arrested 23 teachers who were among 61 being trained on online teaching at Missions of Hope School, Napuu.

They made the move as the government banned public gatherings to curb local transmission of the Covid-19 disease.

Mr Mburukua said they stormed the school after members of the public alerted them and learned that the training had already taken place for several days.

“Such an activity is not allowed, especially as the State fights the spread of Covid-19. The teachers contravened Ministry of Health’s directive on social distancing. That is why we arrested them,” he said.

When the teachers who were in different classes learnt that police intended to arrest them, they attempted to flee, some by jumping over fences.

One of the police officers was forced to fire in the air to scare them.

The 23 surrendered while the others managed to escape.

“We handed them to Lodwar County Referral Hospital to arrange their forced quarantine as they contravened directives on prevention,” he said, noting that surveillance had been intensified.

The school’s management refused to speak to journalists about the incident.