Kenya Raiders Kill 10 Security Officers Pursuing Cattle Rustlers

Gunmen killed at least 10 Kenyan security personnel and injured another 20 officers pursuing cattle rustlers in the north of the country, a police official said.

The attack was carried out yesterday by about 600 men in the village of Lomelok at Baragoi, about 342 kilometers (213 miles) north of the capital, Nairobi, John Mbijjiwe, the police chief for Rift Valley province, said in a phone interview. At least 10 police officers are missing, he said.

“The raiders waylaid our officers from various security units pursuing cattle rustlers in Lomelok area and they sprayed police lorries with bullets,” Mbijjiwe said. “The rescue is ongoing.”

Kenya’s arid northern region faces increasingly common cattle raids, inter-communal conflicts over resources and banditry, with such violence claiming more than 354 lives in 2009, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Cattle raids increase with the onset of the so-called short rains, which run from mid- October to December, when pastoralists restock their herds and rites of passage take place, according to its website.

The Baragoi area is inhabited by the Samburu and Turkana pastoralist communities.

Selina Nasoli, a resident of Lomelok, said some of the attackers were seen carrying away their casualties.

“We saw attackers carrying dead bodies and running away from the battlefield, while their counterparts were engaging Kenyan security and police reserves in fierce exchanges,” Nasoli said in a phone interview.

Residents have begun fleeing the area in fear of renewed attacks, Nasoli said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Abjata Khalif in Garissa via Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.