MARSABIT, Kenya, April 29 (Xinhua) -- At least five people including two local government officials were killed in an ambush in Marsabit county, northern Kenya on Thursday, officials confirmed on Friday.
Marsabit County Commissioner Paul Rotich said 12 people, including a local politician, are among those missing following an ambush by gunmen.
Rotich said some bodies were found in two cars that had been abandoned on the road after the shooting by the attackers who escaped soon after the incident and it is not clear if they left with those missing.
He said the 12 missing people were also part of the team that was pursuing the cattle in the Awaye area of Marsabit county where they were ambushed by the attackers.
"Teams are combing there to pursue the attackers and trace the missing persons," Rotich said on the phone.
Hilary Mutyambai, Inspector-General of Police who confirmed the incident said a major security operation is underway in the area to arrest the attackers.
"Preliminary reports indicate that the incident is linked to a recurrent conflict between two communities resident in the country," Mutyambia said in a statement issued in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
He said the police are committed to ensure that peace is maintained in the volatile Marsabit County, noting that they will deploy necessary resources in pursuit of peace in the region.
The signs of the attack have been there as clans there attack and counter-attack each other in a cycle of incidents that have left many dead and displaced.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i last week warned the government will launch an operation in the area to tame the incidents.
He said the government is determined to find a solution for the crisis in parts of Marsabit, Laikipia, Samburu and Baringo counties in northern Kenya.
Matiang'i said special units have also been deployed to the counties to pursue gangs behind the incidents.
"The situation is aggravated by politics of expansionism, drought, rough and vast terrain and proliferation of arms sneaked in through porous borders. Political instability and troubles in neighbouring countries also make it easy to access weapons," he said.
Marsabit is among areas classified as hotspots ahead of the August polls due to inter-clan fighting. ■