What you need to know:
- Five police officers have been killed in Samburu County after a fight with cattle rustlers
At least five police officers were killed on Saturday and several others injured after they were attacked by a group of heavily armed bandits in Baragoi division of Samburu County.
The officers were in a combined team of security forces who had gone to recover stolen livestock in Turkana County.
“The bandits were armed with sophisticated weapons. They shot security forces from a distance of two kilometers,” Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Asman Warfa told Nation on phone.
He said the security team comprised of regular and Administration Police, General Service Unit (GSU), Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU) and police reservists also known as homeguards.
At least 11 officers are still missing. The incident occurred at Suguta Valley after bandits spotted the security personnel.
“The Government security team drove to the Turkana manyattas when the bandits spotted them and began shooting,” a witness who did not want to be identified said.
Tension has remained high in Baragoi since Monday when the security forces started planning for the operation.
The bandits from Turkana County had been requested by the government to return the stolen livestock but ignored the directive. The 450 herd of cattle livestock were stolen from Samburu residents on October 20.
Last week, a group of Samburu youths had attempted to recover the animals and 12 of them were shot dead.
The team had convened a security meeting on Monday where they asked the two communities to return what they had stolen from each other.
The Turkanas were to return the herd of cattle while Samburu were to give their rivals the camels they stole during the raid.
Area police boss Crispin Makhanu had earlier said in a telephone interview that they intended to carry-out a security operation to ensure all the stolen livestock were recovered to avoid retaliatory attack.
And most residents had started fleeing the area fearing the operation.
On Saturday, security forces had gone to the operation with the Samburu homeguards, which sparked tension on the Turkana side.