A police officer was shot dead and three others seriously injured in a shootout with suspected drug and human traffickers at Degogicha, Isiolo last night.
The four officers, all police constables, were part of an 11-man team travelling in a police Land Cruiser to Merti Police Station from a patrol in Matarba and Nanu areas.
Isiolo County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding told the Nation that three officers were receiving treatment for gunshot wounds at a local hospital while a manhunt for the criminals and investigations into the motive behind the attack continued.
"The criminals ambushed and fired at the police vehicle, injuring four of our officers, including one who succumbed to his injuries. The seven others escaped unhurt," Mr Omoding said.
The officers later managed to drive to the police station via Malkagalla, according to police reports.
The Yamicha-Degogicha road leading to Moyale sub-county in Marsabit is notorious for drug and human trafficking, with smugglers taking advantage of the vast unmanned border area to smuggle drugs into the country via Kachiuru-Mutuati and Kulamawe-Maua roads in Meru.
Mr Omoding revealed plans to introduce drone technology to monitor the area to help track the movement of drugs and illegal immigrants.
"We recently used the technology and managed to arrest 30 immigrants in the Yamicha area," he said.
While commissioning Cherab Sub-County a week ago, Interior CS Kithure Kindiki announced that a special police unit would be set up in Yamicha and Mlango in Burat District to tackle banditry and drug trafficking.
The county commissioner said drug and human trafficking cartels would be dealt with ruthlessly and assured that the criminals behind Monday night's attack would be brought to book.
"Members of the public should volunteer information to the authorities about suspicious activities in their areas," he appealed.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the attack may have been the result of a rivalry between drug dealers and 'some officers' against their business.