|One of the survivors Musa Leleleruk at KNH where he is undergoing treatment. [Photo: John Matua/Standard]|
By Lonah Kibet
Abdullahi Nur groans in pain as he adjusts himself on his hospital bed to narrate the ordeal that left several of his colleagues dead, with others still missing.
The young officer graduated recently, and the deadly ambush was nothing short of ‘a baptism of fire,’ albeit tragically so.
Although he is yet to come to terms with the fact that several of his colleagues returned in body bags from Suguta Valley, the officer in his 20s is happy to be alive.
The AP officer was shot on his backside.
“I feel lucky to be in this hospital room today. I understand that many of my friends did not make it and I would be among them,” Nur, who could not speak for long without pausing because of the pain, said.
Nur was among 106 officers pursuing bandits who had stolen cattle in Lomerok area in Baragoi, Samburu North District, on Saturday morning.quam id, magna
The morning search, however, took a tragic turn around 10am when the officers found themselves surrounded by armed bandits, who proceeded to spray them with bullets. Nur says although officers tried to engage the bandits in a gun battle, they were soon overpowered and decided to take cover.
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He hid in a bush, where he would remain for three days for fear of being attacked by the bandits or hyenas that roam the valley.
He told The Standard from his hospital bed at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) that during the three days, he had to make do with only a biscuit.
“I had a wound on my backside and could not risk being attacked by hungry hyenas. Besides, I was too weak to fight them off,” said Nur.
But more agonising moments lay ahead for the officer, as the rescue team dispatched could not locate him despite frantic efforts to attract their attention.
“When the plane flew past me, I knew it was going to be another day in the bush,” he said.
Fortunately for him it rained Sunday night filling a pond near him and he was able to regain some of his lost strength from the water.
The following morning, he managed to drag his battered body to Nachola, a village in Samburu, only for him to come face-to-face with a woman aiming an arrow at him.
He, however, somehow managed to beg her not to shoot him.
A short distance away, he met a schoolboy, who escorted him to a nearby GSU camp.
“He was kind enough to accompany me to the camp and I would not be alive to tell this story today had it not been for him,” he said.
Needing urgent medical attention, he opted to fly to Nairobi alongside the decomposing bodies of officers killed in the deadly attack.
The officer, however, said the stench from the bodies was nothing compared to the pain on his backside and his aching body.
Nur was admitted to KNH on Tuesday, and yesterday an X-Ray examination confirmed a bullet was lodged on his backside.
“We are still waiting for the doctors’ orders on the way forward after seeing the X-Ray photos. I hope the bullet will be removed soon,” Nur told The Standard.
Also recuperating in the same hospital is Musa Leleleruk from Baragoi, and Ngilai, a police reservist.
He said the ambush was unexpected leading to higher casualties on their side.
“The exchange of fire that followed was intense and we had to take cover,” Leleleruk said, visibly in pain.
He said he managed to crawl behind a bush with one of his injured colleagues where they lay beside bodies of two of their colleagues who had been killed during the gun battle.
Leleleruk said at one point they heard footsteps and he pretended to be dead by lying still on the ground but his friend was not lucky as he was shot dead by the bandits.
“I held my breath as they moved from body to body to confirm if we were really dead. My friend was still breathing and they sprayed him with bullets. They reached where I was and noticed the bullet wound on my leg and concluded I was dead,” he said.
He spent the night behind the bushes with the bodies and was fortunate enough to be rescued the following morning.
“I saw a plane in the distance and waved my shirt. I was relieved when they found me.”
He, too, was airlifted to Nairobi Tuesday alongside the bodies of the slain officers.
Although Leleleruk has a bullet wound on his leg and may have to walk with a limp for the rest his life, he is grateful to be alive.
Meanwhile, Kenya Defence Forces are preparing to deploy soldiers in Samburu following a directive by the National Security Council (NSC).
KDF spokesman Col Cyrus Oguna said yesterday they are already assisting with logistics, especially in the search, rescue and transfer of casualties to Nairobi for specialised treatment.
”KDF will exercise the principle of minimum force, with utmost consideration and concern for innocent civilians to protect the locals from a heavily armed group of rustlers who are destabilising the peace and stability in Samburu County and its environs,” he said in a statement.
He said arrangements are underway to send soldiers to the area.
The move follows the Security Council’s directive that KDF help police track down the bandits and recover the stolen animals and arms.
The raiders not only killed police officers and injured others on Saturday morning, they also made away with guns and bullets.