Two killed, four injured as bandits raid Kalemngorok in Turkana

 Chief Stephen Letoluai

National government administration officers during the burial of Chief Stephen Letoluai at his Lpartuk home in Samburu West on Saturday. He was shot dead by armed bandits. 

Photo credit: Geoffrey Ondieki | Nation Media Group

Two people were killed and four others injured following a military operation in Kalemngorok trading centre in Turkana South Sub-county at the weekend.

The bullet-riddled bodies of two men were yesterday morning retrieved from the bushes following a night of heavy gunfire on Saturday.

A local, Mr James Kisike, told Nation several people are still missing while four men had been hospitalised with gunshot wounds.

“I saw two military helicopters on Saturday evening hovering around the centre. Later, I heard a loud bang at a livestock market near Kalemngorok seasonal river while I was still in my shop,” he said. Mr Kisike said he closed his shop and rushed home.

Suspected bandits attacked residents in the small trading centre located on the Kapenguria-Lokichar highway on Saturday evening a during curfew hours.

This followed an aerial bombardment by two military helicopters at a livestock market near the Kalemngorok seasonal river that left several people injured.

Confirming the incident, County Commissioner Jacob Ouma said it was part of a targeted security operation to flush out bandits in the area.

Sources said the military operation was necessitated by a cattle rustling incident at a village near the border of Turkana and West Pokot counties. Hundreds of livestock were stolen during the raid in Masol on Saturday.

Also on Saturday in Kerio Valley in Elgeyo Marakwet County, two people were killed after bandits launched twin attacks.

The heavily armed bandits simultaneously raided Tot and Chesongoch areas in Marakwet East in the mid-morning attack, killing two people and making away with hundreds of livestock despite the presence of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers.

The latest attacks brings to five the number of people killed by bandits in the past week. Another person was gunned down on Friday night in the same area, sparking protests from locals.

Elgeyo Marakwet County Commissioner John Korir regretted the incidents, saying, security officers were working to curb the attacks.

“The bandits have clearly shown that they neither fear nor respect our security forces. I have reached out to Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki and the KDF and requested them to move their camps to River Kerio because their current stations give bandits a huge advantage,” Governor Wisley Rotich said.

On Tuesday, a herdsboy was shot and injured while herding livestock in Nariamao near Kaakong trading centre.

County Health Executive Anthony Apalia confirmed that Kaakong Dispensary received a 14-year-old patient identified as Nakonyi Emanman with a bullet wound in his leg.

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“At 12:30am, a patient from Nariamao village was brought to Kaakong Dispensary with a gunshot wound on the left thigh. The wound was stitched, dressed and the patient was discharged after being given painkillers,” Dr Apalia said.

Locals said they could not carry out their everyday activities due to the banditry attacks.

They called for increased security patrols during the day to assure herders of their safety.

The multi-agency security team has already mapped out hotspot zones and areas used by bandits as hideouts.

“In a few days to come, we will narrow down to exact locations where the criminals are hiding to completely flush them out. I assure motorists and passengers plying the Lodwar-Kitale highway that we have enhanced security patrols around Kainuk,” Mr Ouma said.

He, however, warned social media users of peddling lies about the ongoing security operation of severe consequences, noting that they are creating unnecessary tension.