December 12th 2017

Top Stories / National

Five officers killed at Kapenguria station, raising queries about handling of terror suspects

A statement from the office of Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet said Omar did not escape, as officers from General Duty, Quick Reaction Team and GSU surrounded the station.

By Martha Kwambokamkwamboka@kenyafreepress.comThursday, 14 Jul 2016 15:44 EAT

Inspecter General Joseph Boinnet (Photo by Allan Muturi/Kenya Free Press)

A senior police officer is among the five police officers who died this morning in Kapenguria police station in West Pokot, after a suspected terrorist in custody identified as Omar Eurmod seized a gun from an officer and used the officer’s rifle to undertake the killings.

At around 5.30am, the Report Office (duty) officer opened the door to the cell where Omar was being held in order to take in more crime suspects who had just been arrested. Omar forcefully snatched the officer's gun and shot him dead. When other officers responded to the gunshots, Omar shot them dead too, according to eyewitness reports. 

A statement from the office of Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet said Omar did not escape, as officers from General Duty, Quick Reaction Team and GSU surrounded the station.

The IG's statement said that 'The actual number and nature of casualties was yet to be fully established."

Omar, who was arrested in Naikwijit of North Pokot sub-county, was accused of recruiting young people from the region to join the Somali militant group, Al Shabaab. He spent the night at Kapenguria police station and was to appear in court this morning, before he planned for his escape.

West Pokot county commissioner Wilson Wanyanga confirmed that Kapenguria OCS Vitalis Ochido was among the police officers killed and he further noted that a contingent of General Service Unit {GSU} officers had been dispatched to the Kapenguria police station where the act took place this morning.

That a single terror suspect could stage such an audacious attack, using the firearm of an officer on duty no less, transfixed the focus of the authorities and the public on the ever changing tactics of terror suspects. 

The incident will call for a review on the procedures for the handling of terror suspects, which, as the case shows, will continue to operate far from the well known epicenters of terrorism in the country like Nairobi, Northeastern and Coast regions.

Mr Boinnet also informed the country that a terror suspect was killed early this morning during a raid at a police camp in Lamu, the Mangai rapid Deployment Unit Camp.

The statement indicated that suspected terrorists stormed the camp, forcing the officers into a heavy gunfight. One of the suspects was killed in hot pursuit, the IG said, and an AK 47 rifle was recovered.

Other reports from Lamu indicated that several suspects and a few officers were wounded.

The two incidents indicate a new trend toward heightened terrorist activity in the country after months of lull. Kenya suffered multiple terrorist attacks between April 2013 and July 2015 but had enjoyed a respite of several months, save for opportunistic incidents in Northeastern.

Early in the week, a security car was hit by an IED in Ishakani area at the Kenya-Somalia border, where one officer was also killed and two others wounded early this week in an evening incident.

The writer is a journalism student at Moi University currently on internship at the Kenya Free Press, specializing in health, crime and society issues.





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