Kenya

Six killed in battle with cattle thieves

By SAMMY LUTTA
By BARNABAS BII

Six people, among them four policemen, have been killed in a shoot-out with cattle raiders in Turkana South sub-county.

The other two were herdsmen. Another herdsman was seriously hurt during the fighting that has heightened tension between the neighbouring pastoralists.

More than 200 raiders attacked Kakong village on Tuesday night.

The officers were a corporal from Kalimorock Administration Police camp and three constables.

AMBUSH ON BANDITS

Turkana South police boss Paul Kuria said six officers had laid an ambush on the bandits, who had stolen goats in a grazing field and driven them towards West Pokot County.

“The officers engaged the raiders in a fierce exchange of gunfire. They were, however, overwhelmed given the massive strength of the raiders,” said Mr Kuria.

Two AP officers who had spent the night on the battlefield reported on Wednesday afternoon that four of their colleagues were missing, he added.

“After a search, we found the bodies of the four officers. Their guns were, however, missing,” said the police boss.

Turkana South sub-county commissioner Elijah Kodo on Thursday said the raiders fled through the notorious Lokwachula “corridor” towards West Pokot County.

REVENGE ATTACKS

“A contingent of officers from the General Service Unit, Anti-Stock Theft Unit, regular and Administration Police units are pursuing the raiders,” said Mr Kodo, adding that the number of stolen animals had not been established.

Members of Pokot and Turkana communities constantly mount revenge attacks after livestock rustling incidents and in disputes over pasture and land.

The conflict has been worsened by the recent discovery of oil in Nakukulas. Both communities claim ownership of the oilfields.

Disagreement persists between the two over the agriculturally fertile Lorokon and Nakwomoru areas along River Kerio.

Armed villagers attacked the Kalimorock AP camp two weeks ago after a reservist killed a cattle rustler.

Leaders from both sides have been pushing for dialogue to resolve the conflict in which more than 20 people have been killed in the past few months.