What you need to know:
- The bandits waylaid the truck ferrying 25 head of cattle from Moyale to Nairobi and sprayed the driver’s cabin with bullets killing the officer.
- Bandits often waylay vehicles ferrying goods or livestock and mostly target those that are not accompanied by a security escort.
A security team in Marsabit has launched a manhunt for bandits who killed a police officer and critically injured another in a highway ambush in the Malgis area on the Marsabit-Isiolo Highway Thursday evening.
Marsabit County Commissioner Norbert Komora said the officer succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained following a bandit attack while escorting a Nairobi-bound truck loaded with livestock.
“We have dispatched a security team to pursue the bandits who were armed with rifles,” Mr Komora said.
The bandits waylaid the truck ferrying 25 head of cattle from Moyale to Nairobi and sprayed the driver’s cabin with bullets killing the officer who was in the passenger seat and left his colleague and the driver nursing injury.
The survivors are being attended to at Laisamis Sub-county Hospital while the body of the slain officer was moved to Marsabit County Referral Hospital mortuary.
The county commissioner who doubles as county security and intelligence committee chairperson confirmed that the bandits made away with the two rifles that were in the security officers’ hands.
A team of regular, rapid deployment and anti-stock theft units has been detailed to comb the area in pursuit of the highwaymen and ensure the guns and ammunition are recovered.
Mr Komora urged to local communities to volunteer any information that could lead to the apprehension of the killers.
This attack came after a long period since Rendille and Samburu community elders counties convened a meeting in January 2023 to invoke a curse on highway banditry.
The invocation known as Faallo among the Rendille or Ldeket among the Samburu brought together politicians, provincial administrators, and security agencies from the two counties.
Speaking during the ritual, Samburu East Peace chairperson Salim Leseshore explained that such invocation is only made as a last resort to deter criminals failing to heed the counsel of traditional elders.
Whoever defied such invocations is bound not to know peace in their lifetime.
The decision was arrived at after a delegation of elders and leaders from Marsabit met their Samburu counterparts at Ndoyo Wasi on January 1, 2023 to find a lasting solution to the highway banditry and cattle rustling that had choked socio-economic development along the Samburu-Marsabit borders.
Leseshore added that the Isiolo-Moyale highway as a crucial component of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor was intended to benefit the locals economically while offering an optimal transport solution to Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan. However, the bandit menace has made transportation along the highway a risky proposition.
Similar concerns were raised by Marsabit South Peace chairperson Peter Galworsi who lamented the collapse of Merille Livestock Market, a mega project funded by the European Union, USAID, and the Kenya government due to rampant cattle rustling and highway banditry.
The project was intended to secure the region’s pastoralists’ livelihoods by commercialising the enterprise but due to fear of bandit attacks, livestock traders no longer went to the market.
Bandits often waylay vehicles ferrying goods or livestock and mostly target those that are not accompanied by a security escort.
Both Sub-County Deputy County Commissioner Pius Murugu and his Laisamis counterpart Langat Bosek said they will work with the local communities to end criminality and reassured travellers of adequate security patrols to monitor areas considered hotspots.