What you need to know:
- West Pokot County in Commissioner Apollo Okello said the armed bandits suspected to be from Turkana county and drove away with 18 goats
- When police officers responded, they found the five people had already been gunned down
- Three officers injured by bandits on Tuesday evening are nursing gunshot injuries at Lokori sub-county hospital in Turkana
- The injured were among eight general duty officers in two police land cruisers ambushed by an unknown number of bandits
Bandits killed five people at Lami Nyeusi in West Pokot county in a Thursday morning attack, two days after injuring police officers in Turkana.
West Pokot County in Commissioner Apollo Okello said suspected armed bandits from Turkana county crossed the border and ambushed the residents of Lami Nyeusi on the Kapenguria-Lodwar highway and drove away with 18 goats.
He confirmed that the bandits, suspected to be from the neighbouring Turkana county, shot dead five people in the Thursday 4am attack.
“When police officers responded, they found the five had already been gunned down. We are searching for the bandits who went back to Turkana County with the goats," he said.
The attack came two days after bandits shot and injured three police officers in Kalinganyang area, 25 kilometres from Lokori town in Turkana county.
The three officers are nursing gunshot injuries at Lokori sub county Hospital following the Tuesday evening attack. The ambush happened during a routine changeover of officers in Turkana East sub county.
The injured were among eight general duty officers in two police land cruisers ambushed by an unknown number of bandits, said Deputy County Commissioner Said Safu Shaaban.
"The officers were ambushed at the Kalinganyang area between 5pm and 6pm. The team was coming from security personnel changeover at Napeitom village," Mr Shaaban said.
Following the incidents, security patrols were for the better part of Wednesday enhanced to keep the bandits away from critical roads and grazing fields in the two counties, which are listed among the disturbed and dangerous areas experiencing sustained bandit attacks despite an ongoing multi-agency security operation.
In West Pokot, Mr Okello said the incident sparked tension in the area, even as a contingent of police officers was dispatched to ensure transportation along the busy highway is not interrupted.
"Those who were gunned down are gold traders," he said. Their bodies were moved to Kapenguria County Referral mortuary.
Out of hand
Leaders, led by Sigor MP Peter Lochakapong, condemned the attack and accused the government of failing to beef up security in the area.
"Let the security team withdraw from the area if they can’t protect residents. Things are now getting out of hand,” he said.
Highway banditry has resurfaced in the region, with travellers being targeted.
The latest attacks come in the wake of a change of tact by bandits who have been targeting passengers and motorists along Kitale-Lodwar road, especially on the stretch between Kalemngorok in Turkana and Marich Pass in West Pokot counties.
Road users, through Turkana County Drivers and Transport Association, have called for the redeployment of Kenya Defense Force (KDF) soldiers based at Loyapat in Turkana South Sub County to the Kenya Wildlife Service area near Kapetogole and Kadeng'oi kraals inhabited by Pokot bandits.
Led by Chairman Ronald Emuria, they said the redeployment will assure them of swift response whenever an attack occurs, and at the same time force bandits out of the kraals while ensuring the safety of travellers.