Seven killed, officer injured after bandits ambush village

The burial of a 35-year-old man who was among seven people killed during a Friday afternoon bandit attack at Bendera village in Baragoi, Samburu County. [Michael Saitoti, Standard]

Seven people were killed and two others, among them a police officer, were injured in a suspected bandit attack in Baragoi, Samburu County.

According to authorities, a group of about 30 armed bandits raided Bendera village in Baragoi on Friday afternoon, shot a young man who was bathing in a river, then proceeded to shoot indiscriminately, killing six other people who were fleeing.

A police officer and a herder who were injured are nursing gunshot wounds at Samburu County Referral Hospital in Maralal town according to Bendera location chief Wilson Lendonker, who was among the first responders.

Samburu County Police Commander David Wambua confirmed the incident saying a special team of security personnel has been deployed in the region.

Lendonker said the attack happened on Friday at around midday and caught residents unaware.

"The attackers took advantage of the fact that our people surrendered their firearms to authorities following a government directive. If only we had local National Police Reservists, the situation would have been easily contained," he said.

Tension was still high in the area following the raid even as local leaders condemned the attack, urging the Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki to act.

Samburu North MP Eli Letipila regretted that even the presence of the special team of security personnel deployed in the area has not deterred bandits.

"We recently celebrated that the area has been peaceful for the last ten months but the bandits had other ideas. The government must stop the senseless killings of innocent people. These people want to live their lives peacefully. The government must protect them," Letipila said.

The MP regretted that the attack happened only days after a security team was removed from the area.

"We urge President William Ruto to immediately order the re-deployment of the special forces in the area. Our people have a right to be protected by the government. Those officers must come back to Baragoi," he said.

Letipila said as leaders from the region, they must meet and discuss security issues and talk to the people from their respective constituencies.

"As leaders from the region we have we the mandate to talk to our warring communities so as to bring peace. I urge the community affected not to revenge this attack. We will make sure the stolen livestock are returned," he said.

The Baragoi community buried one of the victims of the attack at the Baragoi cemetery. The 35-year-old man who was killed in the attack left behind a widow and two children.

Elbarta ward MCA Jeremiah Letoro, who was among the leaders who attended the funeral, said the community should be allowed to arm themselves.

"It is sad that the attack happened after we have surrendered our guns to authorities. We must be allowed to have firearms if the government cannot protect us," said Letoro.

Ndoto ward MCA Ali Leamusia said the attack has ruined the peace initiative by elders from communities living in Samburu.

"Elders did their part in bringing peace in Baragoi, the security personnel have failed us. We want the president to order immediate re-deployment of special forces to Baragoi," he said.