Armed men kill 38 at Kenya border

2011-05-04 12:21
Nairobi - An attack by Ethiopian armed men on a rival community in a remote region of north Kenya on their border left at least 38 people dead, a local official said on Wednesday, warning the toll could rise.

"Where the incident occurred is very remote and mostly not accessible," Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Osman Warfa told AFP in an update on Tuesday's attack.

"Security forces have been combing the area since last [Tuesday] evening and the number of people killed by Merile militia men from Ethiopia is now 38," he added.

The raid had targeted fishermen and cattle herders from the Turkana community, who are normally armed in that region, he said. But several women coming home from market also got caught up in the fighting and were killed.

"By yesterday [Tuesday] only 18 bodies had been found. We had reports that more people had been killed but we had not found all the bodies.

"Based on the total number of bodies found so far, 38 people in all were killed," Warfa said, adding that the death toll might continue to rise.

"A security operation has been launched in the area and we are working with authorities from Ethiopia to help us apprehend those who committed the atrocities and help secure the border," he added.

There is a history of cross border inter-community violence between the Turkana and the Merile.

However, Warfa said the two groups "have been living peacefully in recent weeks and even doing cross-border trade".

"We don't understand where the animosity came from," he said.

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