Kenya village siege ends

2013-11-25 20:48
Kenyan security forces walk in Kainuk, some 130 km northeast of Kitale in northern Kenya. (Stringer, AFP)

Kenyan security forces walk in Kainuk, some 130 km northeast of Kitale in northern Kenya. (Stringer, AFP)

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Nairobi - A week-long siege by an ethnic militia, which left 1 700 villagers in northern Kenya without access to food, water and medical care, has ended, officials said Monday.

Some 200 armed youth from the Pokot ethnic group surrounded Lorogon village on 18 November, saying the move was in revenge for the killing of two members of the tribe by rivals from the Turkana people.

The militia would not allow basic supplies into the village populated by Turkanas, leading to a humanitarian crisis, according to Nicodemas Okango of the Kenya Red Cross.

Sporadic gunfights between police and the militia continued until Sunday, when the militia retreated from the area. The terms of the agreement reached were not clear.

The militia was demanding a review of the borders between the communities, who have been battling each other for years over grazing and water rights.

Lorogon village sits by an important river claimed by both sides.

Since March, when new county boundaries were established, there has been an up tick in disputes between the Turkana and Pokot and groups in other parts of Kenya.

Since the retreat, the Red Cross has been able to bring in humanitarian aid.

"We managed to drop there some food items ... cooking oil, maize, beans, long life milk," said Okango.

West Pokot county police commander Charles Wasike said it would be "premature" to try and disarm the rival tribes.

"The communities are at loggerheads for a long time over pasture and water," he said.

"It is manageable and we want to give dialogue and peace a change.

We thank God nothing serious has come out of that [stand-off]," said the police official.

Read more on:    kenya  |  east africa

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