A Kenyan provincial police officer shot 10 people dead in three bars in a small town northeast of Nairobi before surrendering, a police spokesman said.
“He went from one bar to another and was shooting indiscriminately. Apparently he was looking for his girlfriend after he left duty,” Charles Owino, a Nairobi-based deputy spokesman in the regular police division, told Reuters.
“Among the 10 dead were two of his colleagues who were investigating the shootings,” Owino said, adding that beyond those who died, no one else was wounded.
Five men and three women were gunned down first at the New Coconut and Club Tha Shrek bars in the market town of Siakago and the two police officers were killed in the shooting spree on Saturday night. The officer tried to shoot himself but had run out of ammunition, and later surrendered to police.
Owino said the officer, Peter Karanja, went on the rampage after he finished his shift as a guard at the District Commissioners’ (DC) residence.
Angry relatives of the victims and some residents of Siakago held a brief demonstration on Sunday morning, demanding justice.
“I have just come from the morgue. I have seen 10 bodies lying there. In Siakago we don’t have security, we do not want these police here,” Beatrice Itai, a Siakago resident, said.
“We have no security here. If a policeman can take a gun and goes and kills and says he has done his day’s work … how on earth is that possible? We want all the policemen transferred.”
Owino said police were investigating a number of leads, including one that Karanja had discovered he had HIV and suspected his girlfriend of infecting him, and another that he thought she was having an affair.
Siakago is a small town near Embu, 120 km (74 miles) northeast of Nairobi towards Mount Kenya. Embu serves as the headquarters of Kenya’s Eastern Province.
“Residents on the ground are very angry. They see us as people who kill rather than people who protect them,” Marcus Ocholla, the provincial police officer for the eastern province, told Reuters.
“We as the provincial administration are trying to talk to the relatives of the dead people to calm them down.”
Ocholla said the suspect in the shooting was known to have had a poor disciplinary record, but declined to give details.
The officer served in a branch of Kenya’s police system that is attached to its provincial administration which has its own chain of command separate from the regular police system.