One man was shot dead and a fresh police reservist wounded after bandits raided Marakwet East during DP William Ruto’s visit on Tuesday.
The 5 pm killing took place at Kamasia village, Kipchumwa location, 10 kilometres from Tot where Ruto was chairing a security meeting.
Residents said at least 15 suspected Pokot bandits engaged the new recruits in a gun battle before they were repulsed. A 26-year-old man, Aden Kilimo, lay dead and a reservist injured.
Area police boss Lemmy Njiru said Kilimo was fatally shot in the right leg and was pronounced dead on arrival at Endo Mission Hospital.
“No animals were stolen but the area remains tense,” Njiru said.
Before Ruto arrived on Tuesday, another gang of cattle rustlers attacked Kasagat village, stealing 38 cows.
Resident Wilson Kiptoo said suspected Pokot bandits attacked herders near Kerio River in the afternoon, stealing cattle belonging to Marakwets.
Ruto arrived at Soko Bora near Tot trading centre in the volatile Kerio Valley where he addressed security officials behind closed doors.
After the meeting, he told residents the state will not negotiate with armed attackers roaming the valley.
“The government will not negotiate with criminals who kill women and children and steal livestock,” a visibly angry Ruto said.
“We have to deal with these criminals so they face the law,” he said.
The DP urged leaders to work closely with security agencies to restore calm.
It was Ruto’s third visit to the area after he stopped in Chesongoch, where he presented an additional 255 police reservists.
He toured Arror on February 24, where he commissioned a Sh10 million police station.
“I will be in this area again and again until all women and children sleep in their homes,” Ruto said.
He was supported by Senator Kipchumba Murkomen who said negotiating with bandits is a waste of time. He said they launch attacks during an ongoing security operation.