A senior police officer was on Wednesday hacked to death in Embu County by a suspect linked to the gruesome murder of a chief in Tharaka-Nithi County.
Japheth Mayau Mukengu, 52, was the chief of Kamaindi location.
Witnesses said the officer, an OCS, was killed after he and two of his colleagues cornered the suspect at Ugweri market in Embu East, where he operated a butchery.
The officers were in plain clothes and in the company of a police informer.
The OCS reportedly confronted the suspect identified as David Ikaaba and ordered him to surrender but he did not obey the order.
A police report says Mr Ikaaba and workers in the butchery then raised the alarm and attacked the officers.
It was then that the suspect picked up an axe and struck the OCS in the head several times, much to the astonishment of the residents.
The suspect also pounced on the police informer and seriously injured him and then attempted to flee, but the other police officers responded quickly and shot him dead.
Residents said they rushed to the scene after hearing gun shots.
"We were shocked to find the officer and the suspect lying in pools of blood," said one Mr Njagi Nthiga.
Embu County Police Commander Daniel Rukunga confirmed the killing of the officer and his attacker and said investigations were ongoing.
Mr Rukunga admitted that the OCS had been working outside Embu - holding meetings with his counterparts in Tharaka-Nithi as they sought to establish what transpired in Tharaka-Nithi.
Eastern region police boss Eunice Kihiko also confirmed the market attack, saying, "“He had been following a lead in the chief’s killing when they were attacked. He is the only one who was hit. It is very sad to lose an officer."
The informer was admitted to Embu Level Five Hospital in critical condition.
Police took the bodies to Tenri Ena Funeral Home. A medic at the facility said they arrived in a convoy of about five vehicles.
Meanwhile, three suspects have been arrested over the brutal murder of chief Mukengu.
Irate residents cornered 52-year-old, slashed him with pangas and then set him on fire in connection to a prolonged dispute over the murder of a man in 2018.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) reported the arrests via Twitter earlier on Wednesday, without identifying the suspects.
"Further investigations are ongoing to bring all those involved to book," the DCI said.
Tharaka-Nithi County Commissioner Beverly Opwora earlier said police were investigating the incident.
Sources claimed the residents were angered after the chief’s brother, Gikware Mukengu, detained goats belonging to resident Gitonga Kibuibe, who went missing in December 2018.
The goats had reportedly trespassed into Gikware's land.
Mr Kibuibe's remains were found in the nearby River Thuci three weeks ago.
It was said that he went to bathe in the river on December 12, 2018 but never returned home. Villager alleged that he was killed by the chief’s brother.
Locals said that after the chief’s brother declined to release the goats, villagers sought the intervention of Igambang’ombe deputy county commissioner, who reportedly sent the chief to handle the matter.
Before the chief arrived, hundreds of residents stormed Gikware's home baying for his blood but he managed to escape.
Not aware of what had happened to his brother, the chief went to resolve the dispute but the mob attacked him.
Reports by Alex Njeru, Charles Wanyoro and George Munene