By Robert Wanyonyi
Ten people were killed and scores injured following an attempted theft of coffee at Namangâofulo Coffee Factory in Bungoma County.
They gunned down three factory guards but as they tried to leave the scene, villagers who had been alerted of the commotion cornered them, killing two of them on the spot.
A third suspected thief said to be an Administration Police officer was lynched by the villagers early in the morning after he allegedly admitted to being a member of the gang.
Residents accused the Provincial Administration of complicity in coffee thefts in the area.
Bungoma West DC Paul Merinyang was caught up in the melee when he visited the scene in the morning.
A crowd prevented the police from collecting the bodies and in the ensuing commotion, the DCâs bodyguards allegedly shot and killed four people as they scared off the irate mob.
Western police boss Benson Kibui dismissed allegations that police officers killed four people, saying the dead were the three night guards and three suspected thieves who were lynched.
"The attackers killed three guards but one managed to escape and raised alarm. Villagers responded and killed two (suspected thieves) on the spot. They later caught up with another one," he explained.
The Standard Group crew at the scene saw six people with gunshot wounds being rushed to Sirisia and Bungoma district hospitals for treatment. Journalists at the scene collected 15 spent cartridges.