Eight passengers and a matatu driver have been hospitalised after gunmen sprayed their vehicle with bullets at Kainuk, Turkana South on the Kapenguria-Lodwar Road.
Four out of the nine victims are seriously injured, police said.
The victims’ public service vehicle, which is a 14-seater matatu, was heading to Lodwar from Kitale, when the gunmen struck a few minutes past noon on Sunday, May 1.
The victims said the vehicle was approaching the Kenya Wildlife Service camp near Kainuk Trading Centre on the border of Turkana and West Pokot counties, when the assailants attacked them.
Turkana South Sub-County Police Commander Robert Kibuchi told The Standard that the assailants were seven in number, and were all armed with rifles.
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“They (attackers) emerged from the bushes and signalled the matatu to stop. They, thereafter, shot the driver in the chest. The gunmen then embarked on haphazardly shooting at the matatu and its occupants,” said Kibuchi.
The area police boss said the attackers, thereafter, opened the matatu door and robbed the victims of their belonging, including cash and mobile phones.
The value of stolen property remains unestablished, police said.
“After conducting the robbery, they fled into the bushes,” said Kibuchi.
The Turkana South police chief said four out of the nine victims sustained serious gunshot injuries, and were taken to the Kapenguria County Referral Hospital in West Pokot County.
“The four, who are in critical condition, are three passengers and the driver of the matatu. Two of the passengers had been shot in the head, while the driver had been shot in the chest,” said Kibuchi.
Police suspect that the gunmen are bandits.
The other five victims were taken to Kainuk Dispensary, and are responding well to treatment, police said.
Kibuchi said a manhunt for the suspects has been launched, with a multi-agency police force activated.
“We suspect they are hiding in the thickets on the border of Turkana and West Pokot counties,” said Kibuchi, assuring the victims that justice will be served.
According to the Turkana South police boss, the previously rampant cases of highway robbery in Kainuk had reduced significantly of late.