A police officer was on Thursday shot dead while another one was critically injured during a gun battle with heavily armed bandits in the Milgis area along the Marsabit -Isiolo highway.
The officers were escorting a truck ferrying livestock to Nairobi when suspected cattle rustlers waylaid the convoy and sprayed the vehicles with bullets before the police on board returned fire.
Preliminary reports into the incident indicated that one of the officers suffered a fatal bullet wound during the gun battle with an unknown number of bandits armed with assault rifles while the other of his colleagues was hospitalized with serious gunshot injuries.
Marsabit County Commissioner Nobert Komora said the rustlers did away with 25 heads of cattle that were aboard the truck.
Komora told KNA on the telephone that the attackers waylaid the truck and rained bullets at the lorry crew killing one of the police escorts on the spot and inflicting serious injuries on his colleague.
The county commissioner who is also the chairman of the county security and intelligence committee confirmed that the rustlers also stole the government firearms that were with the policemen.
The injured officer was rushed to Laisamis sub-county hospital with multiple gun injuries including on the head.
The truck driver also sustained gunshot wounds and was taken to the same hospital for treatment.
Komora said that security personnel were dispatched to the area to hunt down the attackers to recover the guns and livestock stolen besides bringing the culprits to book.
He asked the local community to assist in the operation by volunteering useful information concerning the incident.
The incident takes place at a time when the government has heightened the fight against the menace in regions that were hitherto prone to banditry in the country and the rustlers could have been testing the waters.
The body of the slain officer was removed to Marsabit County referral hospital mortuary.