Lamu police officer nursing injuries after attack by ex-convict

The victim Stephen Rotich 57 at the King Fahad hospital in Lamu PHOTO NATASHA NEEMA

Lamu,KENYA:A police officer in Lamu county is nursing serious machete cut wounds after he was attacked by a convict on Monday night.

The officer,Police Constable Paul Rotich 57,who is attached to the Kizingitini police station in Lamu East escaped death narrowly after he was ambushed and attacked by Hassan Mohamed Bunu 20 as he went to buy supplies in a shop in the area.

In what has been perceived as police officers as payback attack,the suspect is said to have followed the officer as he went to a shop at around 7.30pm when he pounced on him and cut him severally on the left shoulder and Wrist.

The suspect is said to have completed his sentence at the Shimo la Tewa Maximum prison in Mombasa three days ago having been charged with assault and drug peddling.

The affected officer is said to have been an investigating officer in the case that saw the suspect sentenced to three years in jail.

Police say the suspect fled into the darkness shortly after attacking the officer and is still at large.

The officer was rushed to the Lamu County King Fahad Hospital but was later referred to and flown to a Nairobi hospital for specialized treatment.

“I had just gotten into a shop to buy something at around 7.30pm when he pounced on me and cut me on my shoulder and wrist.He fled when I reached for my gun.I couldn’t go after him as I was injured.Its someone I know having investigated the case that saw him jailed in 2015 and that’s why it’s obvious that it was some sort of payback attack.He was just released the other day and I had no idea.He intended to kill me,”said Rotich from his hospital bed.

Following the incident,Police officers in Lamu East have expressed concern over their safety following increased attacks being meted on security officers by machete wielding gangs and individuals.

The officers want the courts to stop releasing dangerous convicts into the society who often times embark on revenge missions on concerned security officers, complainants and even witnesses in such cases.

“Drugs is a real issue here but we are doing our best to deal with it.In the last two years for instance,cases of drug peddling have greatly reduced here.We have arrested and charged over 70 people in such.We however feel the courts are jeordizing the entire process is they keep releasing such people just after three years.Such people shouldn’t even be released on bail because obviously they will come for us and many others,”said an officer who declined to give his name.

The officers said the biggest challenge they face in dealing with such criminal elements is the fact that the community refuses to divulge any information that can lead to the arrest of such people.

“We know there are people who know the whereabouts of the man who attacked this officer but they won’t say a word.Its hard dealing with people whose mindset revolves around hiding and aiding criminals even if they are your own child or kin,”said yet another officer.

This is not the first instance where an officer is attacked in Lamu.

In October 2017,police officers were forced to shoot and kill a drug dealer Hassan Mohamed 27,who apparently is a brother to the convict, after he attacked them with a machete as they tried arresting him Faza town in Lamu East.