12 November 2012

Kenya: Police Massacre Toll in Samburu Hits 23

Baragoi residents have begun to flee the area after the arrival of the troops in the region. The government deployed security forces to track down ... ( Resource: Residents in Northwest Kenya Flee Army )

SURVIVORS of the Saturday bandit attack in Samburu are fighting for their lives at the Kenyatta National Hospital.

The nine who were wounded following an attack by cattle rustlers in the newly-created Baragoi constituency were flown to Nairobi by government forces for specialised treatment.

They included four APs, one GSU, two anti-stock theft officers and two police reservists. Other ten officers are feared dead following the Saturday attack by rustlers from the Turkana community who had made away with livestock early last month.

KNH CEO Richard Lesiyampe said everything was being done to safe the patients. At the same time, assistant minister for Provincial Administration, who dis the area MP, Simeon Lesirma, called for the mopping up illegal firearms.

Lesirma called for a ceasefire and appealed to the two communities living in the region to stop fighting and coexist in peace. "There is need to improve relations among these people and initiate development activities to stop these crimes," he said.

The MP appealed for calm as police pursue the criminals and called on the two warring communities to shun cultural practices that divide them.

Plans are underway to deploy more security personnel in the region that is notorious with rustling and further erect more police posts, even as Lesirma assures that the prevalence has gone down.

He blamed the neighboring countries, which he said are unstable, for the influx of guns in the region and called for tightening of border points to control illegal entries.

Lesiyampe said six of the victims are in stable condition and will soon be discharged, while the other three will remain under observation to remove bullets that are still lodged in their bodies.

Two who sustained serious injuries are supposed to undergo surgery to remove bullets from their bodies," Lesiyampe said. "Most of them suffered soft tissue injuries, fractures and lower limb and abdomen injuries."

Only two of the officers, Olekatai Lemeito and Lekirenyei Lemasianai, who sustained face and shoulder injuries agreed to talk to members of the press, however they had difficulties expressing themselves due to language barrier.

They expressed their gratitude at government speedy efforts to rescue them and called for concerted efforts to end cattle rustling. They were part of a contingent that had been deployed to recover animals that had been stolen last month by a neighboring community.

Lesirma said that word leaked to the bandits that there was going to be an operation by police officers to recover the livestock: "There had been negotiations for the stolen animals to be returned, but the target community was reluctant to release them."

He said peaceful negotiations had collapsed, forcing the government to move in and recover the animals. "Someone relayed the information to the bandits who then surrounded our officers beforehand, killing some of them on the spot and displacing others," Lesirma said.

He said the government will soon call on local leaders from the two communities to "sit down, preach peace and continue living together".

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