Four people were on Friday morning shot dead when suspected bandits ambushed residents who were prospecting for gold in West Pokot County in two successive attacks.
In the raid at Lopet location, the bandits suspected to be from a neighbouring county shot at the miners indiscriminately. During the shooting incident, the two men were left for dead before the raiders vanished into the thickets.
According to area chief Isaac Lomwai Achakan, the suspects ambushed gold miners at Chepkarerat (Kokonyin) sub-hills between Romos (Morita) and Apuke where they started shooting.
"The two miners killed in the morning attack were not immediately identified because they were not from the locality. They came from far to search for gold in the pits,” said Achakan.
The chief said after the bandits killed the two in the morning, they reappeared for a second attack in the afternoon where they again gunned down two more on the spot.
"In the afternoon incident, residents identified as Losilipaka Lokwakomole from Songolol village and Rarisan Beree from Lopedot village in Kases location, who were mining at Romo, were shot dead," said the chief.
He said tension is building up in the area and urged the national government to deploy police officers in the area to restore calm. Mr Achakan said the bandits are still at large and that the bodies were still at the scene by Friday evening.
"No police officer has visited the area, we are worried the bandits might strike again," he said.
Pokot North Sub-county Deputy County Commissioner James Ajuang, who confirmed the killings, said security officers have been deployed in the area to hunt down the killers.
“The area has been calm but we wonder what has happened,” said the chief.