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Recovery mission called off after police body is found 40 km downstream

Police officers retrieve one body of their colleague who had been swept by River Kagir on Thursday last week at the Kagir area, the police led by Rift Valley regional bosses launched the recovery mission which came to an end on Tuesday  May 5, 2020 after recovery of the body of the 7th officer who perished in the tragedy. Photo by KNA.

A  four day operation to recover a police officer washed away by floods in Baringo has been called off after the recovery of the last body Tuesday evening.

According to Baringo County Police Commander (CPC), Robinson Ndiwa the rescue and recovery mission of 12 officers swept by raging river Kagir in Baringo come to a halt after recovery of the body of the seventh officer who has been missing for four days.

“The body of Noah Kipng’eno who was the driver of the ill-fated police truck was recovered 40 kilometres away from where the truck carrying 12 officers was swept at Nginyang Bridge,” said the CPC.

He said all the bodies had been transferred to Umash funeral home as the plans for their burial starts.

The recovery mission had been hampered by heavy rains pounding the area which caused the seasonal river to swell two fold.

The  CPC  also confirmed that a substantial number of the ammunition carried by the officer on the fateful day had been recovered and that they will recover more when the water level on the river subsides.

The officers who were part of a team heading for a disarmament operation in the volatile East Pokot, Baringo South and North Sub-counties.

The  truck popularly known in Kenya as ‘Mariamu’ was ferrying 12 officers in the evening April 30, 2020 when it got stuck in a drift on River Kagir, just about three kilometres off the Marigat-Chemolingot Road.

One officer was saved by the call of nature he had sought to answer when his colleagues trying to push the vehicle off the drift were swept by sudden floods at 8:30 pm.

Four others were rescued on Friday while five bodies were recovered on the same day, the last body to be retrieved was on Saturday before the rains surged again.

The heavy rains has now led to loss of eight lives in less than a week after it also lead to the death of two quarry workers in Eldama Ravine a fortnight ago after the wet grounds caved in on the workers.

The Accident however complicates the insecurity problem in the area as the residents of the nearby Kagir, Sibilo, Yatya, Chepkewel, Ng’aratuko and Loruk areas who borne the brunt of cattle rustling attacks for a long time will continue to remain exposed to the vice.

The Residents are also afraid that the guns lost in the river may get into the hands of the bandits and worsen the attacks in their areas.

There has been uproar over rising cattle rustling attacks in Baringo North and South Sub-counties in the last two months culminating with the local leaders calling for the removal of the county commissioner claiming he was not able to stamp out the vice.

The attacks according to the local leaders has led to the loss of six lives and displaced hundreds of residents from their homes in the last two months with Tiaty area facing accusations of accommodating the rustlers.

The Baringo County Commissioner, Henry Wafula has however assured that the security operation to disarm the cattle rustlers will go on despite the accident of the 12 officers.

“An accident affecting 12 officers cannot stop a planned disarmament operation by the government, we have enough resources to carry out our mandate,” assured the CC.

By  Christopher Kiprop

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