SAMBURU (Xinhua) --
Four people including three police officers were
killed and five other officers injured in an ambush on Wednesday
by cattle rustlers in Samburu East, Samburu County of northern
Kenya, the police confirmed on Thursday.
Police Commander Alfred Ageng’o said the three police officers
were killed while on a recovery mission of stolen animals from
Ageng’o said the
officers were attacked by armed Samburu bandits at Ol Kanjau
area but added that a major security operation is underway to
recover the animals.
“The attack occurred
as police officers were loading the recovered stock on to the
vehicle. Three police officers died on the spot while five
officers escaped with gun shot injuries and are undergoing
treatment at Isiolo referral hospital,” Angeng’o said.
The rustlers managed
to drive away the animals before reinforcement arrived at the
scene. The police commander said the fourth person who was
killed was a peace crusader who had accompanied the officers to
Ageng’o added the
survivors had multiple injuries out of shooting. “More security
personnel have been deployed to the area to pursue the
assailants,” Ageng’o said.
Clashes between the
rival cattle herding pastoralists are common in northern Kenya,
with herders often carrying guns to protect their animals, but
the recent fighting has been unusually heavy.
On March 24, ten
people were killed and several others injured in a clash between
herders and suspected cattle rustlers at Lopurio. The suspects
are believed to be from neighboring West Pokot and Baringo
In 2017, more than a
dozen security personnel were killed in the same area in similar
circumstances. Another group of 42 officers had been killed in
nearby Suguta Valley in an ambush in 2012.
Livestock herding is
the main source of income in northern and some parts of eastern
Kenya, and police say cattle thefts threaten to ignite
cross-community reprisals and raids that could set the stage for
a surge in ethnic fighting. .