Houses torched in fresh Kenyan violence

2012-09-17 20:16
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Nairobi - Fresh violence broke out in Kenya's troubled Tana River region, with at least 20 houses torched in a bitter vendetta between rival groups, the Red Cross said on Monday.

"At least 20 houses have been burnt to the ground," Red Cross regional chief Mwanaisha Hami told AFP, naming the villages as Bura Kipini and Ozi. "The villages were abandoned, no casualties have been recorded."

The recent violence in the region has pitted the Pokomo, a farming community, against their Orma pastoralist neighbours. The villages were attacked on late Sunday and early Monday.

Clashes between the two groups have been often attributed to disputes over water and grazing rights.

But locals say a recent surge of violence - in which more than 100 people have been killed in less than a month - is also being fuelled by politics.

Abdulahi Gudo, a member of a local peace committee, said Bura Kipini village belongs to the Orma, while Ozi is a Pokomo village.

"Houses have been burnt but we have responded fast and contained the situation," said Antony Kamitu, who is heading security operations in the region. "We are looking for the attackers."


Over a thousand paramilitary police officers are to be deployed to the region.

The latest pattern of violence has conjured up the spectre of the large-scale ethnic violence that erupted in the aftermath of disputed 2007 polls.

The bloodletting at the time revealed the fragility of a country that had long been considered a rock of stability in the region, and some observers fear a surge in violence ahead of elections due in March 2013.

Last week Dhadho Godhana, assistant livestock minister and the MP for Galole in the Tana River delta, was charged in court with incitement to violence.

Last month Kenya Red Cross chief Abbas Gullet said that more than 200 Kenyans had been killed countrywide in ethnic clashes since January.

Many of the attacks - often small-scale tit-for-tat raids between rival ethnic groups in remote and impoverished rural regions - generate little attention.

Read more on:    kenya  |  east africa

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