Police have launched a manhunt for gunmen who shot and killed two police officers guarding a church in Ukunda, Kwale County, Sunday morning.
The gunmen attacked the police officers at Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) church in Ukunda and made away with their guns.
In the 10 a.m incident, one officer died on the spot while the other succumbed to injuries as he was being taken to a hospital in Mombasa.
Kutswa Olaka, the Kwale county commissioner, said one officer was pronounced dead at Palm Beach Hospital while the other died while being rushed to Mombasa for specialised treatment.
“The attackers were clearly after the weapons stolen from the slain officers,” he said.
He added that police were in hot pursuit of the attackers and that they would not rest until the guns were recovered and the perpetrators arrested.
“Security personnel are pursuing the criminals. We shall not rest until we get the two firearms and arrest the criminals,” Mr Olaka said.
Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya termed the attackers as persons who were interested in stealing guns from the police officers.
“This is not a religious attack. The attackers were clearly after the guns. I urge police officers to be on high alert because it’s unfortunate that we have lost two officers in the line of duty who were guarding faithful,” Mr Mvurya said.
Coast police boss Larry Kieng confirmed that the attackers made away with two firearms belonging to the officers and that a hunt has been launched.
“We had an attack at the church where two officers were killed and their rifles stolen by gunmen. Our officers have launched investigations to establish the motive,” Mr Kieng said.
The slain police officers were ambushed by the attackers who are suspected to be members of the Al- Shabaab terrorist group.
Mr Kieng said the attackers were riding on a motorbike, adding that he could not rule out terrorism.
“We cannot rule out terrorism. The attack is not normal robbery. Their intention was to steal the weapons and plan other attacks,” he said.
He urged residents to remain calm and volunteer any information that could lead to the arrest of the attackers as security agents continue with investigations.