Despite the continuing security effort to seize illegal weapons in the unrest-plagued north rift region, daring bandits continue to carry out attacks in the counties of Turkana and Baringo.
Several bandits assaulted Kenya Defence Forces and police personnel in Kainuk on Wednesday evening and engaged them in a vicious gun battle. The armed criminals were, however, repelled by the security team.
Rift Valley regional commissioner Dr. Abdi Hassan confirmed the occurrence and said that at least two bandits had been detained in Kainuk as a result of the attack.
After villagers witnessed armed bandits believed to be on a vengeance mission after they were repelled by KDF and police personnel at the bridge, tension is still high in Kainuk town, which is close to the boundary of Turkana and West Pokot Counties.
Although several of the bandits were killed, injured, or had their guns seized during the Wednesday clash with police and military officers at Kainuk Bridge, locals fear that the bandits are regrouping to increase their numbers.
A trader, Ms. Shirleen Akolong, reported that the bandits were still gathered at River Malimalite as of 11 a.m. on Thursday, where they typically congregate after forcibly displacing inhabitants.
As police officials and KDF soldiers encountered bandits close to the bridge and at Amolem village on Wednesday, the town remained desolate as residents opted to stay at home in fear of a possible attack.
County Commissioner Jacob Ouma claimed that the cattle rustlers got into contact with the multi-agency security squad while it was out on patrol, hunting any civilian carrying an illegal weapon.
Neighbors reported that despite the ongoing multi-agency security effort, the thieves had turned to play hide-and-seek with the police, which is causing widespread terror in the neighborhood.
She claimed that as long as drivers and passengers continue to pass through the town without stopping or choose to wait until their safety is guaranteed, herders are also unable to freely transport their livestock to the river.
According to Mr. Ouma, there was a firefight when the officers spotted the armed criminals at Kainuk Bridge between 10 and 11 a.m., but the bandits were ultimately defeated.
He issued a strong warning to civilians, telling them the multi-agency team was now dealing with such individuals forcefully and decisively and warning them not to brandish illegal firearms.
He claimed that the arrival of KDF soldiers on the ground provided General Service Unit and Anti-Stock Theft Unit officials with dependable backup for their plans for a successful operation.
Samwel Ndanyi, the county police commander, denied claims of police fatalities circulating on social media and claimed to be on the scene.
In addition, Dr. Abdi denied claims that security personnel had been murdered during the ongoing KDF-police joint operation to expel criminals from six counties. Dr. Abdi added that a total of 23 guns had been willingly turned up to security personnel, mostly in the counties of Samburu and Turkana.
Despite the current security operation, bandits have conducted additional raids. On Sunday, alleged Pokot bandits attacked Lomelo in nearby Turkana East and Chemorongion village in Baringo South.
Security personnel stationed in the area, however, were able to drive back the armed robbers after a bloody shoot-out and retrieve hundreds of the animals they had stolen.
More security personnel have been sent to the area to restore tranquility. This is according to the Baringo Country Commissioner.
Inhabitants of Kainuk and Turkana South continue to live in fear as armed bandits wander freely, especially close to the Kainuk bridge and Amolem settlement.
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