Police Clash with Violent Youth at Bomet’s James Finlay Tea Plantation: A Brutal Encounter Leaves Six Officers Hospitalized

by | May 16, 2023 | Business, News | 0 comments

In a shocking episode of violence at the James Finlay tea plantation in Bomet County, six police officers were hospitalized after an encounter with over 200 youth who were caught illegally harvesting tea. This unsettling incident, which occurred on Monday, marks the second such confrontation within a month, following an April episode that left an officer with serious head injuries.

During the chaotic scene, a suspect reportedly drowned in the Itare River of the Konoin Constituency, as he attempted to evade pursuing police officers who were trying to disperse the crowd at the Chemasingi tea estate in Chepchabas.

The violence escalated as a 16-year-old boy was taken to Kericho County Referral Hospital following a gunshot wound to his abdomen, caused by a live bullet fired by the police. The bullet, miraculously, missed his vital organs.

“Two out of the six officers were seriously wounded. Initially taken to Chebitet Health Centre and the Central Hospital run by Ekattera tea company, they were later transferred to Kericho County Referral Hospital for advanced care,” said Bomet County Police Commander, Mr. Mathews Mangira.

The upheaval also resulted in a police vehicle being completely torched and subsequently reduced to ashes by the unruly youths.

Mangira reported that the destroyed Toyota Landcruiser, previously attached to the Mogogosiek police divisional headquarters in Konoin, has been relocated to the Mara Mara police station. Despite the havoc, no arrests have been made as of yet. Nevertheless, officers from the Criminal Investigations Department are reportedly on the hunt for the perpetrators.

According to a confidential police report acquired by The New York Times, 14 police officers were ambushed by the tea-thieving youths while on patrol within the plantation on Monday.

The report detailed the weaponry of the youth, which included stones, slingshots, pangas, catapults, and wooden sticks. The overwhelmed police officers utilized tear gas in an attempt to control the crowd but had to retreat after running out of supplies.

The report went on to describe how the police vehicle became immobilized in the mud after skidding into tea bushes as the officers attempted to find an alternative escape route. The aggressive youths quickly surrounded the stranded officers, pelting them with stones and leading to injuries severe enough to necessitate a hasty retreat with the assistance of Finlays company vehicles. They were forced to abandon their patrol car.

Mangira also confirmed in a telephonic interview that the police discharged a total of 52 rounds of live ammunition to disperse the aggressive crowd. Additionally, the abandoned police vehicle was vandalized and its wheels and battery stolen before being set on fire by the belligerent youths.

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