Kenya on Friday woke up to the shock of two police formations almost opening fire on each other in Mandera after one of their own was locked up over alleged armed robbery.
On Thursday night, under the cover of darkness, Administration Police officers numbering about 14 stormed Mandera Police Station, the county police headquarters in Mandera town, and freed Constable Richard Githaka Karanja.
Mr Karanja had been arrested in connection with a robbery at a petrol station that left a guard dead and at least Ksh700,000 stolen last week.
The officers, who are attached to the Rapid Deployment Unit in Mandera Kapendo Camp, went to the station on foot in full combat gear.
They stormed the station and started firing in the air.
A report available at the station shows the armed APs arrived at the station on foot at about 8.30pm.
“The officers started firing in the air and one officer forcefully demanded the key from the cell's sentry, one James Maina, while pointing at him a G3 rifle gun,” reads the report.
The officer manning the report desk handed over the key and they opened the male cell and released Mr Karanja.
Mr Karanja, the suspect, was to be arraigned on Friday to face charges of robbery with violence.
“There were 12 suspects in custody. The other 11 inmates remained in the cell,” states the report.
After the RDU officers had rescued their colleague, they left after warning that they will never allow the general duty officers detain their colleague.
After they freed him, the officers fired several rounds in the air and left on foot towards their camp, which is about five kilometres from the police station.
According to the police report, the incident happened in the full glare of the officer commanding station and several other police officers on duty on Thursday night.
The report dispatched to Vigilance House in the capital Nairobi indicated that no other prisoner escaped from the cell during the incident and no casualties were reported.
Interestingly, during the incident, the OCS, Mr Nelson Kinambuga, two station guards, the in-charge lines, the report officer, the cell's sentry personnel and the signaller were all present.
Mr Karanja was arrested and locked up over the robbery after witness had reported seeing at least seven armed men in police uniform at the petrol station.
The top security team in Mandera is scheduled to hold a crisis meeting this morning to discuss the incident at the county police headquarters.
“We are in a meeting but our chairman will issue a statement later in the day,” said Mr Suleiman Rashid, the county AP Commander when reached for comment.
On Thursday, Mandera County Police commander Bernard Nyakwaka had indicated that they were planning an identification parade for all officers who were on duty when the petrol station was robbed.