Three children and a herder were killed in an attack by bandits in Tot area, Marakwet sub-county on Sunday, which left six other people injured.
The victims - two pupils in Grade three and one in Grade four- aged between nine and 11 and an adult died on the spot after the bandits sprayed them with bullets as they fled.
Five of the injured are receiving medical attention at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret in Uasin Gishu County where they were rushed after the Sunday afternoon attack.
The attackers are said to have driven away an unknown number of livestock during the raid which has raised tension in the banditry-prone area.
A survivor, Mr Obadiah Sengech said they were herding their animals at Tot when they were ambushed by hundreds of bandits.
“Each armed with guns, they surrounded us before opening fire. I was shot in the legs,” he narrated at MTRH where he is undergoing treatment.
“They (bandits) crossed the border in Kerio River and trekked over 10 kilometers to attack us while we were grazing our animals. The children who were playing nearby were shot too,” he said.
Not far from Sengech’s bed, Shadrack Kirop, 16, was also writhing in pain as medics made frantic efforts to stop further loss of blood from gunshot wounds on his legs.
Mr Thomas Kabuswo, Kirop’s uncle said: “When will this suffering end? This is too much because every day there are attacks that end up in deaths. We feel the government is not serious in restoring order which has resulted in 109 deaths in the past six months,” he said.
Area leaders led by Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich and Marakwet East MP Kangogo Bowen condemned the attacks.
“We need the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) sent to Kerio Valley as soon as possible. 109 lives in six months is no longer banditry. Each day we are burying people either killed on the road or by bandits, we are demanding action from the government,” he said.
He spoke as it emerged that there are six bodies lying at Tot mortuary- all victims of banditry. Mr Bowen blamed the government for not handling the banditry issue with the seriousness it deserves.
Kerio Valley killings
“This is genocide and the government should tell us if we are children of a lesser god. Whenever there are attacks, we are told to go and talk to the people while in other areas, a security operation is mounted. End the Kerio Valley killings now,” he said.
Elgeyo-Marakwet County Police Commander Patrick Lumumba said the attack was motivated by revenge after Marakwet bandits crossed the border and killed a person from the neighboring county as he picked mangoes.
"We managed to recover all the animals after police officers trailed the bandits. After a fierce gunfight, the bandits fled and abandoned the animals. Our people should desist from retaliatory attacks," he said.
He said tension was still high and police had been dispatched to the area.
Three county commissioners are currently holed up in an emergency security meeting in Tot, the epicenter of the Sunday bandit attack that left three children and a herder dead and six others nursing gunshot wounds.
Elgeyo Marakwet County Commissioner John Korir, Baringo's Abdirisak Jaldesa and West Pokot's Apollo Okelo together with county police commanders and other security commandant's are brainstorming ways of addressing the security crisis.
"The meeting is aimed at coming up with immediate solutions to the security crisis," said Marakwet East Deputy County Commissioner Simon Osumba.