By Vincent Bartoo and Robert Kiplagat
Armed bandits attacked, assaulted and robbed a Standard Group crew on assignment in Turkana County.
The crew of five was ambushed by two bandits armed with AK-47 rifles at Kalimnarok area of Turkana South on Wednesday evening.
The journalists were KTN North Rift reporter Mercy Kandie, The Standard writer Dann Okoth, photographer Peter Ochieng, KTN cameraman Simion Chepkwony and driver Joseph Kigen. They were in Turkana to source stories on complaints by locals that they were being sidelined in the oil exploration exercise.
The locals had also complained of low pay and poor working conditions in oil companies that have employed them to assist in exploration. Ironically, the bandits that attacked the crew were from the local community and are suspected to have colluded with Kenya Police Reservists from the same community.
“We thank God we are alive. It was a shocking experience. These were young armed men who robbed and wanted to kill us,” said Kandie.
The bandits ordered the driver to stop at gunpoint and ordered the crew on board to surrender phones and cash as well as other valuables. They almost shot Okoth, suspecting he was a police officer escorting the crew and assaulted him together with Chepkwony.
After they had robbed them, the bandits attempted to abduct Kandie but an oncoming lorry saved her as the thugs fled for fear of being caught in the act. “They ordered me to step out of the vehicle. I thank God because the door jammed and as I was struggling to open it, the lorry appeared and they fled,” she said.
The crew drove to Kainuk Police Station where they reported the incident and recorded statements. Turkana South OCPD Don Bosco Muutu regretted the incident and said he had launched investigation.
Stay informed. Subscribe to our newsletter
He said a police reservist suspected to have set up the attack by colluding with bandits will be questioned and action taken if he is found culpable. Meanwhile, a man was shot and seriously injured by suspected armed Pokot raiders in Kagir area in Baringo North District.
Locals told The Standard that the injured man, identified as Reuben Nakiruai, had gone back home from where he had fled with his family due to rampant insecurity.
There, rustlers who have occupied housed vacated by residents, shot him before fleeing.