Hundreds of families have fled their homes after an intense police operation in Ngaremara area.
Tension has been rising in Isiolo and Meru counties as security agencies attempt to recover stolen livestock.
Residents claimed four villagers had been killed and six others wounded in the operation, but the Government said only one person, who they claimed was part of a group that engaged the police in a fierce gun battle, was killed during the second phase of the exercise last week on Monday.
Police launched the operation mid last month to recover 418 livestock stolen by suspected bandits who had attacked Loruko village last April and killed two people.
In the first operation, an officer died at Kiwanja village after police came under attack and were forced to retreat.
In the second operation three weeks ago, the bandits forced the police to retreat again after a fierce exchange of fire. Two constables were shot dead and four others, including Isiolo County Police Commander Manase Musyoka, wounded. Mr Musyoka is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Nairobi.
On Monday last week, the police undertook the third operation backed by four armoured cars. It is during this operation that locals said four people were shot dead. More than 200 cattle suspected to have been stolen in past raids were also confiscated and driven to Isiolo Stadium.
Relatives identified the deceased as Akidor Ayapar, Silvester Ekai Lochuch and Loroo Etodo. The fourth person is yet to be identified.
Two other operations have also been conducted since last Monday’s incident and more cattle seized.
But residents have accused the State of using excessive force against them instead of targeting the criminals behind the rustling incidents.
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