The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Kwale Cops Attacked, Guns Stolen

A traffic police officer was yesterday morning seriously injured along Mombasa Lunga Lunga highway and his AK-47 was stolen. His colleague escaped with minor injuries.

The officer was shot in his head by two youths after he stopped a passenger vehicle for inspection during their daily traffic routine.

The suspected al Shabaab youths wrestled his female colleague and grabbed her pistol before they ran away.

The injured police officer was rushed to Palm Beach Hospital at Diani in Kwale County.

"The patient profusely bled after he was shot in his head and the bullet came out through the neck but we have done our best we managed to transfuse one paint of blood and he is out of danger," said the Dr Lalit Kotak.

The policeman has been sent to Jocham hospital in Mombasa for a CT scan.

Eye witnesses said that the two suspects ran into the bushes at Maganyakulo area holding the AK-47 rifle that was snatched from the officer.

No one dared to follow the two youths, according to a local leader.

"I saw the male police lying helplessly bleeding while his female colleague fell down after the youths wrestled her. Our driver could not stop because the suspect might have used the vehicle to escape," said Amina Faki, a journalist who was traveling from Kombani to Waa by matatu.

She said the two young boys of about 20 to 25 years used a shortcut towards Waa area.

"It is only al Shabaab youths who can dare attack police and snatch their weapons and they must be from that area because they ran away into bush meaning they know that place very well," said a senior security official in Kwale County who did not wish to be named.

Most youth joining al Shabaab are reportedly from Kwale County which is a stronghold for the separatist Mombasa Republican Council.

Kwale county police Commander Kenneth Kimani said he would brief the media later.

"I don't want to give conflicting information as the county commander will give you all details on the matter please," said Kwale OCPD Richard Mugwai.

"For now I can confirm a police officer was injured by unknown people and his AK47 rifle was stolen. The other details the county commander will give you," said Kwale county commissioner Evans Achoki.

Officers from General Service Unit, regular police and Kenya police are hunting for the two suspects.

Earlier Bongwe Gombato, a ward representative, said that two groups of criminals have been terrorizing Diani town.

One group is the "terrorist type" that has been targeting police while the other criminal gang has targeted MPesa shops, hotels and fuel stations.

The terrorist group consists of local youths that have been trained in Somalia.

Msambweni assistant county commissioner Justus Maina recently disclosed that police are looking for 20 youths who recently returned from Somalia.

Police recently arrested suspected terrorist Seif Setu believed to be behind the grenade attack at Tandoori in October and are holding others.

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