Three suspected gangsters linked to a wave of insecurity in Trans Nzoia County were set ablaze by enraged Kiminini residents.
Two AK-47 rifles and 60 live bullets were found on the gangsters.
The residents snatched the three from the custody of Administration Police officers who were taking them to the police station.
Kiminini district officer George Ochieng said the suspects, believed to have come from the neighbouring Bungoma County, had boarded a public vehicle from Kiungani to Kiminini while armed.
“Two of the suspects had concealed the guns in some clothing but the vehicle’s tout sensed danger and notified area senior chief Jomo Mutoka immediately they alighted,” said Mr Ochieng.
The chief and several police officers trailed the three to a house at the market, and ambushed them.
The officers arrested them recovering the two guns, 60 bullets and an axe.
The security officers were leading the suspects away when a surging crowd pounced on them, beat them to death and burnt their bodies.
“The officers could not save them from the crowd that overwhelmed them. The villagers were determined to lynch the three after linking them to a robbery at Kiungani where a trader, Mr Zach Mwangi, had been gunned down.
A witness said they decided to lynch the three because they had lost faith in the judicial system.
He said the robbery suspects would have been released on bond and would have returned to terrorise them.
Documents found in the house showed one of the suspects, Elvis Konos, was out on bond and was to appear before a Kimilili court in Bungoma on June 28, for the mention of a criminal case.
The two are also linked with the recent killing of a Kenya Police Reservist Simon Masika at Milimani in Kitale where they escaped with his G-3 rifle that is yet to be found.