NAIROBI - 26 Kenyan police officers were killed and nine others wounded when they were caught in an ambush as they pursued cattle rustlers in northern Kenya, according to a new toll Sunday. "The death toll is now 26. Three more bodies were found last night while one was found today (Sunday) morning," a police source said after Saturday's attack. The source also told AFP on condition of anonymity that an unspecified number of the attackers had been killed or wounded. The group of rustlers police were pursuing were already suspected of killing 13 people in another raid on Oct 30.

Nine wounded policemen also were admitted to hospital in Nairobi, hospital spokesman Kibet Mengich said. Cattle theft and the ensuing clashes between rival nomadic groups claim dozens of lives every year in arid northern Kenya. It is rare however for police officers themselves to be attacked. Police numbers there are low and the officers are poorly equipped. The cattle herders have therefore armed themselves against attacks from rival groups. Elsewhere in Kenya, in the southeast Tana River region, inter-communal violence claimed more than a hundred lives in August and September.