NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 25 – Cattle rustlers shot and killed four people during a raid at a Manyatta in Baragoi on Monday night, barely a month after a similar raid left at least 42 police officers dead.
Police said the raid occurred within Tuum division, about 24 kilometers from Baragoi township.
“The raid occurred at night when the Turkana raiders went to steal cattle, they shot four people dead,” a police officer in Baragoi said.
Twelve others sustained serious gunshot wounds but they were declared out of danger at the Baragoi and Malalal district hospitals—according to police.
The officer said the raiders made away with some 200 goats but revealed “some of them have been recovered.”
Police and the military have mounted a security operation in the region after 42 police officers were killed in an ambush as they were hunting cattle rustlers—the deadliest attack against the country’s police force.
Several suspects—including local administrators are facing charges over the massacre.
Cattle theft and ensuing clashes between rival pastoralist groups claim dozens of lives every year in northern Kenya.
With the country set to conduct a general election in March 4 next year, such incidents are raising serious security concerns.
Tribal violence claimed at least 1300 people in the last general election held in 2007, triggered by disagreements between supporters of incumbent President Mwai Kibaki and his then bitter political rival Raila Odinga who later became prime minister in a power sharing agreement mediated by former UN chief Kofi Annan.
Kenyan police have come under fierce criticism for failing to stop inter-communal killings, after last weeks killings of 45 people shot or hacked to death by militiamen in Tana River.
Some 100 lives were lost in similar violence in the area in August and September.
Kenya’s first Inspector General David Kimaiyo who took an oath of office on Monday was set to visit the region on Wednesday morning after holding talks with President Mwai Kibaki in Mombasa.