ISIOLO, Kenya (Reuters) - A British police officer on holiday in Kenya was shot and killed by bandits in an ambush near the border with Ethiopia while other passengers on the truck he was riding were unharmed, Kenyan authorities said on Tuesday.
Jamal Moghe, an officer with London’s Metropolitan Police in his twenties, was fatally shot on Sunday while riding in the cabin of a truck carrying at least 30 passengers and cargo.
Relatives said he was struck by a bullet in the abdomen and buried in the nearby town of Isiolo on Monday. They said Moghe had been carrying a bulletproof vest, but had not worn it during the trip. It was recovered from the truck, they said.
Moghe had been on his way to visit relatives and friends in Marsabit, a trading town some 400 km north of the capital, Nairobi.
A regional police commander said the attackers were being pursued and an investigation was under way into the incident, including why only Moghe was killed.
“A team of police officers, local reservist and community game rangers from Isiolo, Marsabit and Samburu are pursuing the gang. We have received crucial leads, I am confident these bandits will be arrested,” said Isiolo police commander Daniel Kamanga.
Trucks are commonly the only mode of transport in the region where the roads are poor. Most have police escort, but the lorry in which Moghe was riding had none.
Family members said the bandits did not steal anything from the deceased.
Deadly attacks in remote parts of Kenya are common, including the eastern region where Sunday’s incident occurred near the porous border with Ethiopia, from where the armed Oromo Liberation Front has made sporadic incursions.
Arms smuggling is common in such areas, and the region is awash with guns due to its proximity to unstable neighbours such as Somalia, where al Qaeda-linked militants have been fighting to topple the government.
Violence has turned Kenya’s north into a lawless region. In November, armed cattle raiders killed at least 32 Kenyan police officers in a military-style ambush, described as the worst attack on police in Kenya’s history.
Additional reporting by Humphrey Malalo in Nairobi; Writing by James Macharia; editing by Jason Neely