Police in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, have launched a manhunt for notorious robbers who have been staging attacks in the sprawling Langas estate.
Security officers on Friday thwarted robberies in the area after members of the public reported seeing suspected criminals near an Eldoret hotel.
As police confronted them, they opened fire, forcing a retaliation. A suspect who was injured in the incident was left behind as three fled in a car.
“Members of the public [informed us] of a group of four robbers from Nandi County. We had been trailing them for some time,” said Kapseret deputy divisional police commander (OCPD) John Odhiambo.
“They were spotted near Queens Garden. The chase led us to Kona Mbaya junction in Langas. They fired at our officers so there was an exchange. The driver got out of the car. He is a jailbird who was recently released from Kodiaga,” he said.
Those who escaped abandoned the vehicle at Kiambaa Polices Station.
“There are indications that they know this area very well. Since we have been very tough, they have not attacked us,” said Mr Odhiambo.
Residents on edge
According to police reports, the robbers have hideouts in Nandi, where they have also attacked residents of parts including Nandi South, Nandi Central and North.
“They have committed robberies translating into millions of shillings in Kobujoi, Ndurio, Chemonyi and Madonna,” said Mr Odhiambo.
Residents piled pressure on police, asking them to assure their safety after the three suspects escaped.
Steven Moses said, “Some of us train outside till late in the night. How safe are we?”
Elizabeth Jemutai said: “We are very tired of these incidents. We are not safe. That today’s incident occurred in broad daylight tells you what happens at night.”
The incident came a few months after three people were arrested over crimes including robbery with violence in Langas estate.
The suspects were trailed by officers of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to their hideouts after they were described by their victims.
The suspects were aged between 17 and 27 years. One of them was described as a known criminal with a pending robbery with violence case at a Kapsabet court as well as three other robbery cases.
It is said the suspects used knives and machetes in their attacks.