Some officers in the Baragoi attack still missing, court told

Wednesday February 24 2016

Former Baragoi Police Station deputy OCS Christopher Obat gives evidence before the High Court in Nakuru on February 23, 2016 in a case in which a Samburu MCA and six other people have been charged over the 2012 Suguta Valley massacre that left 42 police officers dead. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Former Baragoi Police Station deputy OCS Christopher Obat gives evidence in the High Court in Nakuru on February 23, 2016 in a case in which a Samburu MCA and six other people have been charged over the 2012 Suguta Valley massacre that left 42 police officers dead. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ERIC MATARA
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Some of the officers involved in the botched mission to recover stolen cattle in Baragoi about three years ago have not been traced to date, the High Court in Nakuru heard Tuesday.

Chief Inspector Christopher Obat, who was among those who led the mission, said the bodies of some of those killed have not been found.

He told Justice Maureen Odero that there was also confusion as to how many officers died in the November 2012 massacre in the Suguta Valley, near Baragoi.

Over 40 police officers and police reservists were killed in the bungled mission, with top security officers being blamed for poor planning.

Then Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere said 42 officers had been killed and 50 firearms snatched.

Mr Obat, who was then Baragoi Police Station deputy OCS, said some families have not found their loved ones since the deadly attack.

ROBBERY WITH VIOLENCE

He was testifying in a case in which Nachola MCA Lawrence Lorunyei, chiefs Christopher Lokerach, Enoi Lesike, Amojong Loturo and Jeremiah Ekurao, police reservist Loomira Looyen and ranger Ekai Loyee have been charged over the attack.

The accused are facing robbery with violence charges and are out on a Sh5 million bond each.

The officer, who was among several who escaped, said they were lured deep into the Suguta Valley before their attackers opened fire on them.

Mr Obat told the court they had gone to crack down on Turkana raiders who had stolen cattle from Ndoto village in Samburu on October 19.

It was while in the valley that they were ambushed by over 100 armed attackers, minutes after they had spotted the stolen animals. Most of them died under a hail of bullets.

“Some of us were only saved by the grace of God,” the tearful officer told the court. Survivors were rescued by armed forces that were sent to the area after the attack.

Those killed were largely inexperienced and did not know much about the terrain of the “valley of death".

The hearing resumes on June 16 and 17 when the remaining 12 witnesses will testify.