Six police officers killed in Kenya as drought fuels more violence

Central Kenya has been hit by a wave of violence in recent months as armed cattle-herders searching for dwindling grazing land have driven tens of thousands of cattle onto private farms and ranches.

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

A government-ordered security operation has so far failed to quell the unrest which some blame on drought and others on politics.

Six Kenyan police officers were killed and four wounded when their convoy was attacked by gunmen in central Kenya where drought and scarce grazing land is fuelling violence.

Members of the police's anti-stock theft unit (ASTU), travelling in two vehicles, were attacked by members of the Pokot ethnic group while on a "familiarisation tour" in Laikipia county, a police statement said.

They "were attacked while negotiating [a] sharp corner and as a result the officers ... were fatally injured," it said.

Laikipia has been hit by a wave of violence in recent months as armed cattle-herders searching for dwindling grazing land have driven tens of thousands of cattle onto private farms and ranches. Over a dozen Kenyans have been killed in the violence.

Kenyans go to the polls on August 8 in national elections to choose a new president as well as members of parliament and county officials.

Many residents in the area accuse local politicians of inciting the violence ahead of the elections.

In a report this week advocacy group Human Rights Watch said the violence in Laikipia and neighbouring Baringo county had displaced people, meaning they would be unable to vote next month.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies