I escaped by the grace of God, says AP
He spoke at the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital in Nakuru Sunday as two of his colleagues were being moved to Defence Forces Memorial Hospital in Nairobi for specialised treatment.
“I have been an AP officer for the last year and a half, but I have never encountered such a bloody experience. I don’t know how I survived the bullets that rained on our lorry,” said Mr Mugendi moments before he was transferred to the War Memorial Hospital in Nairobi.
Mr Mugendi, who was accompanied by injured colleague Livingstone Karuga, said they were ambushed by heavily armed bandits on Friday at round 3pm.
“We were escorting a vehicle to Kapedo when we were ambushed,” recalled Mr Mugendi.
The officer, whose first posting as an AP was West Pokot, said their lorry was moving slowly when it was sprayed with bullets.
“We jumped out for cover as they surrounded the vehicle and rained bullets on it, killing most of our colleagues,” said Mr Mugendi whose broken left hand was heavily bandaged.
His other colleague Mr Karuga, 30, was unable to sit or stand because a bullet went through his leg muscle.
Another officer, Mr Francis Mathat had a bullet in his chest. At round 2.30pm yesterday, he was still in the theatre where doctors were trying to remove the bullet.
Meanwhile, questions remained unanswered even as the bodies of the 21 officers killed in Turkana County were yesterday evening transferred to Chiromo Funeral Parlour in Nairobi.
Records indicate that most of them were new in the service and had only served for about six months. It was not immediately established whether that was considered in deploying the officers on the rescue mission.
Most of them, including AP Constable Abdi Adan Maalim, left the police training college in April this year, a case reminiscent of the 2012 Baragoi massacre where most of the 42 victims were new in the service.
That the identity of the deceased officers remained unknown and that there was no official communication became clear when only one family visited the mortuary to view the body of Mr Maalim, who hailed from Mandera County.
According to a relative, he was the first born in a family of six and sat Form Four exams in 2011 before joining the AP Training College.
Conspicuously missing were officers from the Kenya Police Service. Only four officers from the General Service Unit (GSU) were at the mortuary to receive their three colleagues.
The bodies, packed in white bags, arrived at 4.57pm in a lorry.
In the previous attacks, bodies and the injured have been flown to Wilson Airport before being ferried to mortuaries and hospitals.
This time, the bodies were brought in a lorry under heavy escort all the way from Kapedo. On arrival, the partly decomposed bodies were offloaded. The area was completely sealed off by armed officers who surrounded the lorry.