A gunman who shot dead six Kenyan police officers inside a police station in western Kenya on Thursday is a police officer himself, witnesses said.
Initial reports widely spread by both local and international media outlets said the man was a suspected recruiter for al-Shabab, an armed militant group based in neighboring Somalia. But later two Kenyan police officers in the area told VOA on condition of anonymity that the killer was a Kenyan police officer.
"The shooter was a police officer named Maslah. As soon as he came to his shift at the station around 4:00 a.m. local time this morning, he took his gun and shot five of his fellow police officers and later he killed another police officer," one Kenyan police officer told VOA Somali.
Another police officer who declined to give his name was among the first responders to the attack. He said the man was a "disgruntled policeman."
"I knew the man. His name was Maslah. He was Somali Kenyan police officer at the station,” the anonymous officer said. “He had submitted a resignation letter to leave the police to his superiors. … So I think the attack resulted from the fact that he was disgruntled."
The shooter was later shot by special forces who were deployed to the Kapenguria police station.
Earlier, Police Inspector General Joseph Boinnet said in a statement that commandos had surrounded the police station in an attempt to bring the standoff to an end.
Boinnet said the man tried to escape after shooting the officers, but his attempt was thwarted by other members of the police force who arrived on the scene.
Al-Shabab has been behind several terrorist attacks in Kenya in recent years, which it says are a response to Kenyan troops sent to fight extremists in Somalia.
Earlier Thursday, Boinnet said members of al-Shabab unsuccessfully attacked a police station in Kenya's coastal region.
Boinnet said the police withstood the attack and killed several of the attackers, but he did not give an exact number of the dead.