Three police officers killed, 7 injured in fresh Turkana bandit attack

Turkana police patrol

Security officers patrol at Kainuk town along the border of Turkana and West Pokot Counties. Three police officers are feared dead following a fierce gun battle between security teams and bandits in Napeimoit, Turkana County.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Three police officers are feared dead following a fierce gun battle between security teams and bandits in Napeimoit, Turkana County.

The two General Service Unit (GSU) and a regular police officer were ambushed by the gang, believed from a neighbouring county, as they revisited a scene they were attacked Friday night. A GSU officer is missing.

The raiders also seriously injured at least seven others, including an Officer Commanding Police Division and GSU and Rapid Deployment Unit commanders.

The injured security officers were evacuated to Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, for treatment. 

A civilian who was in one of the police vehicles sustained gunshot wounds.

According to a report filed at Kalemnng’orok police post, a multi-agency security team had revisited a Friday night attack scene, five kilometres off the Lodwar-Kitale road, when it was ambushed.

“While at the scene, bandits started firing at them from the bush. Officers recovered the bodies of the three, who had gone missing,” the report says.

The attackers stripped the bodies naked and fled with their weapons and uniforms.

“The tyres of the three Toyota Landcruisers were deflated in the attack. The vehicles are still at the scene, with one burnt and the others vandalised,” the report adds. 

The survivors retreated to the ASTU camp in Kainuk and called for air support.

In the Friday evening incident, officers on patrol were ambushed by bandits about five kilometres from the Kenya Wildlife camp, towards Kakong.

“On spotting the security team, the group of about 200 started shooting at the officers, who returned fire. As the officers concentrated on neutralising the raiders, they were attacked from the rear by another group of about 100. The officers were surrounded,” reads the police report filed around midnight.

The exchange of fire lasted more than two hours, resulting in several casualties.

Turkana County Commissioner, Jacob Ouma, told the Sunday Nation yesterday that an operation has been launched to track the bandits.

He added that the attackers regrouped at night “after we dismantled them”.

“Those injured are in stable condition. The officers flushed the bandits from the thickets and seized more than 40 rounds of ammunition, communication gadgets, a tortoise and other bizarre paraphernalia,” the administrator said.

“Directorate of Criminal Investigations detectives are analysing the items impounded. Kenya should not be held to ransom by crooks. We have received reinforcements to crush the bandits and allow normal traffic flow,” he said.

Mr Ouma added that leaders should preach peace and not acrimony between communities.

“The government will do all it can to address the menace,” he said.

Earlier, three people were killed when the Lodwar-bound matatu they were travelling in was sprayed with bullets.

Several others are nursing gunshot wounds. Following the attacks, local leaders urged the government to deploy police helicopters to the area.

“The government is not dealing with ordinary bandits or cattle thieves but terrorists. Locals have also been on the receiving end. Unfortunately, security forces appear to be overwhelmed,” Kainuk Ward Representative Samuel Aliwo said.