Man attacks Kenyan deputy pres’s home with machete ahead of vote, 1 injured

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ELDORET, Kenya (Reuters) – A man armed with a machete attacked the country home of Kenya’s deputy president and injured a guard before holing himself up in an outbuilding, police said on Saturday, 10 days before presidential and legislative elections.

Deputy President William Ruto was out with his family at the time of the attack in the western town of Eldoret. Ruto is the running mate of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is seeking a second and final term in office in the Aug. 8 elections.

“In circumstances that are yet unclear, he hit an officer on duty … with a machete and managed to enter a farm complex,” Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet said in a statement, adding that officers were still trying to arrest the assailant.

“Other officers were quickly mobilised, and the intruder was forced to hide at a building that is still under construction next to the gate,” Boinnet said.

Local television stations had reported earlier that gunmen were behind the attack on Ruto’s home, with NTV News and KTN News reporting that gunshots were heard at the scene.

“The injured officer is undergoing treatment and is in a stable condition,” Boinnet said, adding that Ruto’s house was secure.

Typically the deputy president’s residence is guarded by an elite paramilitary police unit.

Kenya will hold legislative and regional county representative elections at the same time as the presidential vote.

Ruto and Kenyatta spent Saturday campaigning in the counties of Kitale, Kericho and Narok, the president’s office said in a statement. Neither commented on the incident.

Officials from Ruto’s office were not available for immediate comment.