Kenya police massacre death toll rises to 37

An injured Kenyan policeman lies on a hospital bed in Nairobi on November 11, 2012 recounting how he an others were attacked in Baragoi, Samburu North District Saturday. At least 26 policemen were killed in the ambush in northern Kenya while chasing cattle rustlers.  PHOTO | AFP

The death toll in Saturday’s bandit attack on police in Baragoi, Samburu County in Kenya rose to 37 after more bodies were discovered.

Thirty of the dead were said to be police officers while seven were homeguards. Six police officers are missing.

Some of the bodies were flown to Nairobi as the parliamentary committee on security called on the government to respond forcefully to the attack by suspected Turkana cattle rustlers.

It is one of the worst attacks on security forces in many years. Nine officers died in another attack on security personnel in Tana River in September, prompting a massive security operation in the area. A commission of inquiry is investigating the raid.

More bodies were Monday discovered in a thicket in Baragoi Division of Samburu County, bringing to 37 the number of security forces killed in the Saturday ambush.

Seven bodies were found Monday and according to police sources, the total number of the law enforces who died during the attack at Lomirok Village is 30.

The others are Samburu homeguards.

However, six officers were still missing Monday by the time of going to press.

Military helicopters were called to help in the search and rescue mission. The attack took place near the Suguta valley, a harsh and dangerous area.

“We still have six more officers missing,” the source told the Daily Nation by telephone from Baragoi.

Combined force

Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Osman Warfa, who led a team of top regional security committee members, declined to discuss the issue.

Mr Warfa rushed to the area in a police chopper accompanied by Rift Valley Provincial Police Officer John M’Mbijiwe.

They first held a closed door meeting in Baragoi before flying back to Nakuru, the provincial headquarters.

The Turkana gang ambushed a combined force of General Service Unit personnel, Rapid Response Unit, Anti-Stock Theft Unit and regular and administration police officers who had gone to Lomirok to recover stolen animals.

They had driven into the village accompanied by Samburu homeguards to recover more than 450 heads of cattle Turkana raiders had stolen.

Community leaders in Turkana Monday said during the encounter between the security forces and rustlers, some four people from the village were injured.

“The injured have already left the village and they are now in the bush to avoid arrest,” one of the leaders told Daily Nation by telephone.

Most of the members of the Turkana community in Baragoi have fled, fearing reprisals by the Samburu after 12 Samburu were killed in an earlier incident.

The Samburu had on October 30 decided to go to Lomirok to recover the 450 cattle the Turkanas raiders had stolen from them on October 20.

They were ambushed by the Turkana and 12 Samburu moran killed.

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