Family is yet to come to terms with the killing of officer by cattle rustlers

Back at his home in Toror Village, Keiyo South constituency, Elgeyo Marakwet County, residents mourn the departed as a role model who defied many odds to get a job to sustain his family.

According to his father Mzee Toroitich, 82, he was barely eight months in service as a recce squad officer when he met his death. He was a teacher by profession pursuing his Diploma at Moi University before he was recruited into the police service in 2021.

"I am shocked and saddened by his sudden death. I don't even have the energy to talk because I have lost hope," Toroitich laments.

Toroitich says his son was the breadwinner who went out of his way to provide for his siblings, his wife and two children, not forgetting his elderly parents.

According to Hellen Toroitich, the deceased mother, his fifth-born child was very hardworking and determined to excel in life.

After his studies at Kabulwo Secondary School, he pursued education and tried his luck during a police recruitment exercise in 2021 where he was luckily selected.

"My son decided to try his luck as a police officer just to get a job to help his family. He wanted to help his siblings get an education and also help us get the basic needs. He is the only child employed and I am deeply hurt by his death because we have no one else to take care of us," she said.

Peter Cheboi, Kipngetich's brother, who is studying Public Health at Moi University, is still in shock and pain after learning of the death. He says that he spoke to him last on Monday and discussed much of the plans he had to change their livelihoods at home.

"He used to pay fees for our brother who is in high school and mine in university. Our parents are aged and have no source of income so they are not in a position to provide for us. Now that he is gone, we feel our dreams are being shattered," Peter explains.

Occasionally, he would ask his brother how he was fairing at work and he would tell him about the challenges he faced. However, he was optimistic of fulfill his obligations at home.

"My brother was still familiarising himself with the job. He had no much experience because he had not worked for long. I think the government should be giving junior officers time to gain experience before sending them to such volatile areas," Peter adds.

According to his cousin Chrispus Kiprop, Kipngetich was a close friend. He contacted him on Thursday telling him that banditry was giving him sleepless nights.

"He called me again on Friday lamenting on the same issue. I asked him what he wanted to do now that he was risking his life. He told me he would soon come home where we would discuss on how to empower each other. The next thing I heard about him was that he had been shot by bandits. The only thing that kept him at work is the hardship at home," says Kiprop.

Thw family is asking the government to consider employing one his siblings.

"I ask the government to remember me now that my son died in line of duty. However, I don't want a police officer's job because it's risky. Any other job will be fine," say Hellen, Emmanuel's mother.

The recent attacks have sparked reactions from several leaders in the North Rift Region who want the government to use any means possible to deal with the menace.

Keiyo North member of parliament Adams Kipsanai wants the government to deploy experienced officers and also use the military to end banditry in the region.

"We want to see experienced officers who have worked for over 10 years and know how to maneuver terrains. Many young officers are dying every day. I think we should look into the operations of the police, I think they are deploying the vulnerable to face the enemy at the frontline," he says.