Baringo bandit attacks: Locals reject police reports of 'no deaths'

Alicen Kipton and her three children at Kapkomole village in Baringo North Sub-County of Baringo County where they sought refuge with other locals on March 15, 2022, after they fled Kapturo village due to frequent attacks from the neighbouring community. 

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Two people are nursing serious injuries from gunshots in an attack by armed bandits in Kamwenje, on the border of Laikipia and Baringo counties, on Wednesday.

It happened even as locals disputed police reports that no one died in the incident.

Locals insisted that three people died and two were injured in the attack, but police dispute the claim, saying there were only three injuries and no deaths.

Residents have also disputed police reports that there was relative calm in the region, accusing the government of playing public relations stunts.

They said they had not seen any operation to flush out bandits but people continue to die as police insist they had beefed up patrols.


The Wednesday morning incident happened when herders from the Tugen community were grazing their livestock.

A confrontation between them and their counterparts from the neighbouring Pokot community ensued, leading to a fierce shootout.

Baringo County Commissioner Abdirisack Jaldesa said security officers and police reservists on patrol responded, repulsed the attackers and evacuated the injured people to Baringo County Referral Hospital in Kabarnet.

“Several herders from different communities are herding on the border of Korkoron and Kamwenje and they normally move from one area to the other. There was a shootout between herders from Tugen and their Pokot counterparts following a confrontation and three people were injured,” said Mr Jaldesa.

But he denied that there were deaths in the incident. “We only had the injured persons. If there will be any development then we will communicate,” he said.

More injuries

Police suspected that there might have been more injuries from the attack.

Mr Jaldesa said officers were combing the bush to see if there were more injured people and to smoke out the bandits.

“We are liaising with officers from the neighbouring Laikipia County to smoke out armed attackers at the notorious Korkoron Hills because that is the only area at the moment that is harbouring criminals,” he said.

“That was an isolated incident and we assure locals in Lamaiywe and Mochongoi to be calm as we work to restore sanity in the restive region.”

Mzee Kipsetim Kimwetich, 80, and another victim of banditry who fled Kapturo village in Baringo North Sub-County of Baringo County due to frequent attacks from the neighbouring community takes refuge at Kapkomole village on March 15, 2022. 

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

He said there had been relative calm in the region, adding that police reservists, who know the rugged terrain well, have helped beef up security.

“The operation has borne fruit and with the presence of the police reservists, the bandits have felt the pinch,” he said.

“With the increased equipment of our officers, they can now patrol the volatile areas with ease and in a few days we are going to clear Korkoron Hills, which is believed to be a hideout for the bandits.” 


Locals have, however disputed the police reports, stating that three people were killed in the attack and two taken to Baringo Referral with gunshot injuries.

Baringo Referral confirmed that two injured people were brought to the facility with gunshot wounds in the back and hands.

“We have started treating them and they are now in stable condition,” said Josephine Chemeli, a nurse.

Mr Paul Kipyemat, a resident of Kasiela who accompanied the wounded persons to the hospital, said three herders lost their lives in the morning bandit attack.

“With this trend, we fear that we will all be wiped out by the gun-wielding criminals who have dominated almost every village, unleashing terror. In whose hands are we safe?” he said.

The community recently buried seven people killed by bandits.

“Now three have also been shot dead. Why are we being treated as lesser Kenyans?” he said.

Samuel Nyongi, a resident of Lamaiywe village, wondered why police were giving conflicting information, noting that there were 20 herders from the Tugen community.

He, too, insisted three people were shot dead, others suffered injuries and the rest fled to safety.

“The police are not issuing factual reports. They should come clean on where they are getting their information because we are aware that three people died in the morning attack, while two are at the Kabarnet hospital nursing gunshot wounds,” he said.

Police reservists deployed

The latest attack happened barely three weeks after more than 80 police reservists were deployed to the restive Baringo North and Baringo South to smoke out criminals.

The troubled regions had experienced incessant bandit attacks and stock theft, which led to the closure of dozens of schools and other social amenities after thousands of locals fled to safer areas fearing for their lives.

Since the beginning of the year in Baringo County alone, more than 25 people have been gunned down by bandits, with scores of others nursing gunshot wounds.

Shoot to kill

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Mohamed Maalim, at a peace forum in Mochongoi on March 8, issued a shoot-to-kill order for bandits wreaking havoc in the region.

He said 60 of the more than 80 enlisted NPRs were deployed to Baringo South, while 20 were dispatched to Baringo North.

He said the officers were thoroughly vetted and trained to flush out the gun-wielding bandits.

He said three armoured personnel carriers were dispatched to the border areas in Baringo South to help patrol officers.