Officer killed as siege at Kenya deputy president’s home ends

Nairobi (AFP) – Elite Kenyan security forces on Sunday killed a man at the home of Deputy President William Ruto, ending a 20-hour siege that left one officer dead and another wounded, security officials said.

Ruto and his family were not at the vast property in northwest Kenya when Saturday’s attack began, less than two weeks before what are expected to be tightly-fought elections.

Ruto condemned the violence at a campaign rally on Sunday.

“Those who seek to frustrate our unity, undermine our progress or work towards destroying our nationhood will not succeed,” he told supporters in the town of Murang’a.

Kenya’s police chief Joseph Boinnet said one attacker was shot and killed in the assault, while a police officer was found dead after being taken hostage by the assailant in an armoury where he holed up.

“The situation is under control,” Boinnet said, adding the attack began when an intruder stabbed a police officer guarding Ruto’s house, wounding him and stealing his gun.

Regional security coordinator Wanyama Musyambo said the assailant then fled into an armoury on the compound’s grounds.

“It was a very delicate operation because, being in the armoury, he was at an advantage and was firing various weapons, and this caused confusion because you would think there was more than one person firing,” Musyambo said.

While Boinnet said there was only one assailant, several security sources had earlier told AFP that the assault was staged by multiple people using guns, raising the possibility that some of the attackers remain at large.

“There are armed people who staged the attack and have shot the GSU officer and stolen his gun,” one security official said, referring to the elite police General Security Unit deployed to guard Ruto’s house.

– Tensions mounting ahead of vote –

The deputy president had left the house shortly before the attack to attend rallies alongside President Uhuru Kenyatta, his running mate who faces a re-election contest on August 8 against longtime opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Kenyatta did not address the attack during appearances at multiple rallies on Sunday.

The weekend attack occurred despite the round-the-clock presence of GSU guards at the property, near the town of Eldoret, some 300 kilometres (200 miles) northwest of the capital Nairobi.

Moses Wetang’ula, leader of one of five opposition parties in the coalition backing Odinga, called the incident “unfortunate” in comments to The Standard newspaper, but questioned if it could be an attempt…

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