Twelve security officers have been injured in an ambush as they pursued cattle rustlers in Igembe North, Meru County, on Friday.
The rustlers had organised themselves in two groups, one tasked with driving away the stolen animals estimated at 300 while the other laid an ambush in the bush for police who were pursing them to recover the animals.
The rustlers waylaid the first truck carrying personnel from the General Service Unit (GSU) based at Mariara camp in Igembe North, opening fire on the unsuspecting officers and injuring four.
About two hours later, a contingent of Anti-Stock Theft Unit (ASTU) personnel based at Bullu arrived to provide reinforcement after getting a distress call from their colleagues, but were also ambushed by the bandits who seriously injured eight constables.
The heavily armed rustlers, according to Igembe North police, had on Wednesday night attacked a village and stole the animals, killing the owner and injuring two other people.
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According to a report from Ndumuru police station in Igembe North, the injured GSU personnel were taken to Maua Methodist Hospital while those from ASTU were moved to Isiolo County Teaching and Referral Hospital for treatment.
All but three were referred to Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi.
Both Isiolo Chief Officer for Medical department Ibrahim Alio and the hospital superintendent Hussein Abdi said the facility received eight patients on Friday, adding five of them had been transferred to Nairobi.
“Those not in very bad shape were taken to Nairobi by ambulances while the others were airlifted. We now have three undergoing treatment here,” said Alio. Isiolo police led by the County Commander Joseph Kigen prevented journalists from interviewing the injured and taking photos.
A source at the hospital who sought anonymity described injuries suffered by some of the officers as “horrific”, adding some of them may have their hands and legs amputated.
Meanwhile, more reinforcement had been deployed to track down the rustlers and recover the stolen animals.
The personnel from police and GSU from Isiolo, Meru and Samburu were seen moving towards Shab Hills, Gachuru and Daaba, Shaba Game Reserve and Gotu in Isiolo and Archers Post in Samburu East on Saturday afternoon.