At least 32 police killed in tribal strife

Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 00:00

Armed Turkana cattle raiders killed at least 32 Kenyan police officers when they ambushed them in the remote northern county of Samburu on Saturday, a government official said yesterday, in the latest fighting between rival tribes in a dispute over land.

Samburu county has a national game reserve and neighbouring Turkana county is where Irish explorer Tullow Oil struck the country’s first promising oil find earlier this year.

Officials had put the death toll at 12 and local media has reported at least 40 deaths.

They said raiders from the ethnic Turkana tribe who had stolen cattle from the Samburu tribe killed police who were pursuing them. Cattle rustling and clashes over grazing and farming land are relatively common between tribes in arid areas of east Africa and often escalate into revenge attacks.

Osman Warfa, provincial commissioner for the vast Rift Valley province, said the attack was carried out using machine guns, anti-personnel bombs and rocket-propelled grenades.

“We have recovered more bodies, we now have 32 in total. They were ambushed by attackers bearing sophisticated weapons,” said Mr Warfa. – (Reuters)