- Officers were riding in an armored vehicle when they came under attack
- Victims of the ambush died on the spot
Three police officers were on Wednesday killed in an ambush at the restive Laikipia Nature Conservancy.
The officers were patrolling the expansive conservancy when they were ambushed by a gunman believed to be a sniper.
Authorities said the officers were in an armoured vehicle when they came under attack on Wednesday evening.
The driver panicked and lost control of the vehicle before it overturned. As the occupants stepped out of the vehicle thinking it was safe, they were shot by a gunman who then disappeared into a nearby thicket.
A senior police officer said the victims died on the spot. Police spokesman Bruno Shioso confirmed the attack but said he did not have all the details.
“There was an attack at the place but we are yet to get full details on what happened,” he said. He denied reports those affected were military personnel.
He said the multi-agency operations in the area will continue and told the illegal herders to leave. The government has been ordering the herders in the private ranches to leave but some have defied the directive.
An operation was mounted in the area following repeated attacks on residents and security agencies by gunmen believed to be herders. More than 10 security personnel have been killed in the more than five months standoff.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i led a senior delegation of government officials to oversee ongoing security operations in the area.
Matiang’i commissioned the construction of new subcounty headquarters to enhance operations.
Chief of Defence Forces Gen Robert Kibochi had also visited the troubled area and assured residents of security.
As part of efforts to restore order, Matiang’i announced the creation of a police division at Ol Moran with enough officers to patrol the region.
Ol Moran was gazetted as the headquarter of Kirima subcounty. He said two additional police stations will be established in the flashpoint zones.
Additional National Police Reservists will also be recruited and deployed in disturbed areas, he said.
A training base for elite police units will be established in the area to enhance police presence and serve as a buffer zone between Laikipia residents and invaders from neighbouring counties.
The CS said there will be a deployment of surveyors to Laikipia to expedite the titling process and review/recommend action on lapsed leases or those about to lapse.
“We will engage relevant ministries and agencies on the ideal management of the Laikipia Conservancy to mitigate its attraction as a conflict hotspot,” he said.
The attackers had been torching houses and other amenities including schools.
The CS said the operation will involve a multi-agency team, all responses will be coordinated and the real drivers of conflict addressed beyond the fight for pasture and water.
-Edited by SKanyara