Laikipia County gubernatorial candidate Nderitu Mureithi was on Wednesday forced to cut short his political rally in Matuiku after bandits attacked the area.
Mr Muriithi was addressing residents at Karumaindo shopping centre when gunshots rent the air, just about a kilometer from the shopping centre.
Residents who were attending the meeting were forced to take cover while others sought refuge at a nearby police camp fearing for their safety.
On Tuesday night, bandits had raided several villages in the area and stole an unknown number of livestock prompting security officers to launch a manhunt for the raiders on Wednesday.
It is reported that the about 300 armed men who had disappeared into the Laikipia Nature Conservancy after the raid shot several times in the air to keep off security officers from following them.
Tension is high in Kamwenje, Miteta and Matwiku villages following the incident with residents decrying persistent banditry attacks and livestock raids.
“We are urging the government to quickly intervene because our lives and property is in danger.
“We are tired of the persistent banditry attacks and we want the government to assure us of our safety,” said Ann Nyaguthii, a resident of Matwiku village.
Area OCPD Ezekiel Chepkwony said the shootout was as a result of fierce exchange between security officers and the raiders.
He said more security officers have been deployed to the area to restore calm.
“We are assuring the residents of their security as more security officers have been deployed in the affected areas,” said the Mr Chepkwony.
This is not the first time for such incident to happen.
On May 23, a group of armed men disrupted a security meeting that was taking place in Rubere, Laikipia West.
During the May incident, the bandits emerged from the bushes and started shooting in the air, forcing residents to scamper for safety.
Administration Police officers involved in security operations in the county have been protesting delays in the payment of their allowances totalling to over Sh14 million.
Area residents said that this has interfered with and halted the security operation, hence the rising waves of insecurity in the area.
The officers have been claiming that their counterparts in the operation —the regular police and General Service Unit officers — were each paid Sh63,500 four weeks ago but the APs were left out without any explanation.