KITALE, September 19 – Three suspected cattle rustlers were shot dead on Thursday night when they raided a remote village on the outskirts of Kitale town.
The slain men were part of group of over 60 raiders who had wanted to steal livestock from Kolongolo village in Kwanza constituency when they were confronted by the police. Four others are believed to have escaped with gunshot injuries during the shootout with the law enforcers.
Police said three locals were also injured when they attempted to block the raiders’ gateway during the midnight attack that occurred a few kilometres from the Pokot- Trans Nzoia border that has been notorious for banditry attacks.
Kwanza District Commissioner Hassan Mohammed said the members of the public who were wounded are admitted to the Kitale district hospital in a stable condition. They were said to have been shot when they tried to repulse the raiders.
Mohammed said police were pursuing the attackers who had engaged the police in an hour-long shootout before they retreated to a forest along the border between Trans Nzoia and West Pokot districts.
“We recovered three AK-47 rifles from the dead men and our officers are still pursing the others who fled. We will not rest until we get rid of this group because it has given us a lot of problems,” he said.
Reports said the group stormed the village at about 10pm and started shooting randomly into the air to scare away residents before they attempted to drive away cattle. Police were attracted by screams from residents who were woken up by the gun shots.
“Our officers responded and engaged them in a shoot out and we managed to gun down three of them. We have beefed up security in the region to keep away the cattle rustlers. We will not relent in our efforts to maintain peace and security here,” Mohammed said.
Last week, two other raiders were killed in a similar raid that occurred at Kapkoi centre in the same district but no cattle were stolen.
Cattle rustling have been rampant along Kenya’s border points particularly on the Somalia, Southern Sudan and Ethiopia frontiers where at least four cattle raids are reported every week.
The recent incident in Northern Kenya was reported last week when 15 people were shot dead and more than 400 domestic animals stolen.