Tension remains high in Kerio Valley following the killing of two people in a banditry attack.
The two men, one suspected to be a cattle rustler from Tiaty Constituency in Baringo County and another one described by police as a herder from Marakwet East, were shot dead on Tuesday evening in a fierce gun battle at a grazing field.
On Saturday, a suspected bandit, who was part of a nine-member gang, was also shot dead as he attempted to steal a herd of cattle near Liter Primary School in Marakwet East.
Residents of the vast valley that stretches across three counties of Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo and West Pokot, said the renewed clashes had paralysed agricultural activities and trading locally.
Marakwet East OCPD Vincent Kitili said 20 bandits armed with AK47 rifles ambushed herders on Tuesday in Chesetan sub-location, triggering a fierce shootout that led to the deaths.
“Officers from Mogil police station, Kaptora operation camp, Chesetan Administration Police camp and National Police Reservists responded immediately and the cattle rustler was shot dead,” said Mr Kitili.
He said the suspected bandits were plotting to steal hundreds of cattle at the pasture-rich Cheptarbech grazing field along the Turkwel Powerline.
“During the fierce fire exchange, two cows were injured but no livestock was stolen. The other cattle rustlers escaped and crossed River Kerio to Loiwat location in Baringo County,” said Kitili.
He said no arrests had been made, adding that the police from Marakwet East and Tiaty were jointly hunting the suspects.
He said the bandit’s body was taken to Iten County Referral Hospital mortuary and that of the herder to Tot sub-county hospital mortuary.