A suspected recruiter for the Somalian militant group al Shabaab shot dead at least four Kenyan policemen in the station where he was being held on Thursday after he snatched a weapon from a guard, police said.
He was now holding other prisoners as hostage and police had surrounded Kapenguria police station in west Kenya, police Inspector General Joseph Boinnet said in a statement.
Boinnet said in a statement: “His attempts to escape were thwarted by the quick arrival of officers from General Duty, Quick Reaction Team and GSU, who have surrounded the station.”
Reports according to The Star newspaper in Kenya indicated the man was arrested on Wednesday at Nakwijit area in North Pokot sub-county and was to be taken to court in the morning of July 14, 2016. He snatched the gun belonging to a Report Office officer who opened a cell for roll call and opened fire.
“Nobody can confirm what transpired since those who had information are dead. We are waiting reinforcement so as to unveil the truth.” Boinett said
The man was suspected of links to terrorism, it said, without being more specific. The number of casualties was not clear according o the statement from Kenya Police.
Another police officer, who declined to be name, told Reuters at least four officers were killed and that figure could rise. He said the man was suspected of recruiting for al Shabaab.
Unconfirmed reports indicated the attacker was being backed by other militants who raided the station early in the morning.
Al Shabaab has launched a series of attacks against Kenya in recent years, including using local recruits. The group says the attacks are aimed at driving Kenyan forces out of Somalia, where they are part of an African force fighting al Shabaab.
Kenyan television channel KTN said as many as six officers had died in the continuing stand-off in Kapenguria.
Boinnet said that police had also repulsed an attack by al Shabaab militants on a camp in the Lamu region of eastern Kenya, near the Somali border.
Several militants were believed to have been killed or escaped with severe injuries from that assault. He did not give figures.
With Files from Reuters, KTN, The Star