Paul Erenglobur is maimed with a swollen body and in excruciating pain at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital.
The 44-year-old has bullets lodged in both legs, following a recent banditry attack at Lokumega along Kapedo-Lokori road, Baringo County, where a group of bandits ambushed a police vehicle and killed three people.
“It is sad to be in this critical state. Our attackers were so brutal. They sprayed bullets on the police vehicle, maiming me,” says Erenglobur.
He is among nine people admitted to the hospital, following the attack. Three people, including a police officer, were killed in the Monday evening attack.
According to him, the bandits, some of whom they were with at a construction site at Kapedo-Lokori road, trailed and ambushed them while heading home.
“We had worked with our attackers at a construction site, but why they teamed up with armed criminals to attack us remains a puzzle,” says Erenglobur.
Lawrence Epwagan, who escaped the attack with a minor injury, says they were attacked on their way home at around 5pm.
They were aboard the police vehicle that was sprayed with bullets.
Epwagan says those attacked were working on a bridge on the Napeitom-Lomelo-Kapedo road.
“They come in organised groups like a trained battalion, and never miss their targets,” he says.
He says the government should disarm the two warring communities in the area.
The recent attack on the casual labourers is not an isolated case, tens of people have died and hundreds maimed following attacks that have paralysed education, health services and development.
Kasarani, a 17km stretch along the Baringo-Turkana border, is turning out to be a valley of death that has claimed lives of dozens, including police officers.
The area is surrounded by hills, presenting a beautiful scenery. High vegetation and tall grass are on both sides of Kapedo-Lokori road, which cuts across the area.
The vegetation in hundreds of acres provide pasture for pastoralists even during dry seasons, and give the invisible attackers advantage to stalk and ambush their prey.
If you visit the area, you have to be accompanied by a local who will explain to the attackers that you mean no harm. Then you will be accepted and even offered security.
In October 2014, 21 police officers were killed in an ambush by suspected Pokot bandits. A Rapid Deployment Unit truck, which ferried the officers, was also torched.
The officers were transporting the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exam papers on October 20 when the bandits descended on them.
Shot by friend
In May 2015, four people were killed at Solar village near Kasarani after a fight between the Turkana and Pokot erupted.
In November 2017, three police officers and an education officer were killed while on their way to Lomelo from Kapedo. The attack happened after their vehicle got stuck.
Not a single criminal linked to the killings has been arrested.
Cases of banditry have also risen in the neighbouring Samburu County, where at least eight people have been killed in the past one month, including three children.
In one of the incidents, a 16-year-old boy was allegedly shot by his friend when they were playing with guns.
According to the police report, both David Lmaiman, who was a student at Barsaloi Mixed Day Secondary School in Samburu North, and his friend were armed with illegal firearms.
On December 24, 2019, a 12-year-old boy was shot dead by a group of armed bandits at Bendera area, in Samburu North Sub-county.
A number of bandits have been hiding in Suguta valley, together with stolen livestock.
In April, police officers were deployed in Lomerok, Samburu North, after armed bandits raided Samburu East and drove away 50 head of cattle.
A team of police officers went to help recover the stock, but was ambushed by bandits, who shot dead a senior officer.
In November 2012, 42 police officers were killed by armed bandits at Suguta Valley where they had gone to recover stolen livestock.
The bandits seem not to respect authority as they continue terrorising locals despite deployment of contingents of police officers to five camps in the sub-county.
The camps are Nashora, Kambi Nyoka, Marti, Suyan and Loruk. Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers are also at Ngorushe camp.
Last week, Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya told residents to brace themselves for a forceful disarmament set to start any time.
Natembeya said the residents of Baringo and Samburu counties have been reluctant to surrender illegal firearms in their possession.
Speaking in Baragoi during a lengthy security meeting on January 22, he said there has been an element of firearm unrest in the counties, despite numerous peace initiatives.
“Illegal firearm holders have failed to obey directive to voluntarily return their firearms, this is why we are going for them,” said Natembeya.