What you need to know:
- Residents confronted the armed bandits who had raided Lochacha village, Parkou sub-location, leading to a fierce shootout.
- The attackers are suspected to have crossed from Turkana South Sub-County and were attempting to steal livestock.
Six people were left dead during a bandit attack on Tuesday morning in Sarmach area on the West Pokot-Turkana border.
Pokot Central Sub County Police commandant, Nelson Omwenga, confirmed the incident to Nation.Africa.
The attack also left 16 people admitted in hospital with injuries.
According to Omwenga, three of those killed were bandits suspected to be from Turkana County.
The other three victims were residents who were caught up in the exchange of fire between the bandits and multi-agency security team officers.
One person who was injured died at Kapenguria County Referral Hospital.
During the deadly confrontation, residents confronted armed bandits who had raided Lochacha village, Parkou sub-location, leading to a fierce shootout.
The attackers are suspected to have crossed from Turkana South Sub-County and were attempting to steal livestock.
County Commissioner Apollo Okello speaking after the incident, shared details of some of those who were injured during the attack.
"Lochimwa Komoi, aged 20, had a bullet lodged in the head, Domo Lopokotiang, 25, suffered gunshot wounds on both legs while 21-year-old Petro Lokomol sustained injuries to the left hand and stomach," Okello said.
Mr Okello assured area residents that a security team is actively engaged in addressing the recurrent issue of bandit attack.
"We will not tolerate any threats to the safety of citizens," he said.
However, some residents have faulted the multi-agency team for using a drone-propelled grenade on residents who were observing the aftermath of the confrontation.
Among those who have been hospitalised, one is at Kapenguria County Referral Hospital, while the others are at Ortum Mission Hospital and Sigor Sub County Hospital.
Nasolot Sub-location Chief Michael Mwotor however conflicting figures to the effect that two people lost their lives while 57 others were injured by the grenade explosion.
"We were shocked by actions of the multi-agency team to use a grenade on innocent people," the Chief said.
He said those suffered serious injuries had been transferred to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret.
The administrator said the incident has heightened tension among the residents, with some relocating from their homes.
Meanwhile, political leaders, led by West Pokot Deputy Governor Robert Komolle and West Pokot County Assembly Deputy Speaker Victor Sigwat, have condemned the alleged actions of the multi-agency team.
West Pokot County Police Commandant Mr Peter Kattam said a security team has been deployed in the area and is pursuing the bandits.
“A multi-agency team has been deployed to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the incident,” he said.
At the same time, despite the prompt response from the authorities, processing of the scene has proved challenging due to the hostile terrain, darkness, and poor visibility.
Mr Okello urged residents to remain vigilant and collaborate with security agencies to tackle bandits.
"The community's cooperation is crucial in the war on banditry. We encourage anyone with information to come forward to aid in the ongoing investigations,” he said.