Dozens dead in Kenya land dispute
Attackers killed 32 villagers and burnt more than 150 houses in Kenya's coastal region today in the latest attack in a long festering dispute between communities over land and water.
"There was a fresh attack in the Tana Delta this morning. As for now we have established 32 people are dead," Abbas Gullet, head of the Kenyan Red Cross, said this morning.
Members of the Pokomo community are thought to have carried out a retaliatory attack on the Orma group following clashes last week in which 11 people died, Robinson Thuku, the deputy police chief for Tana River, said in a phone interview today.
At least 64 people have died since fighting broke out between the two communities last month. An attack by Pokomo fighters on August 22nd killed at least 52 Orma.
The raid produced the worst death toll from ethnic violence in a single day since at least July 2005. There is evidence that the clashes in August, the United Nations said.
Kenya is scheduled to hold elections in March, the first since a disputed 2007 vote sparked two months of ethnic and political reprisals in which more than 1,100 people died.
The conflict cut economic growth and led to a probe by the International Criminal Court, which charged four people including deputy prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former education minister William Ruto with crimes against humanity. All four men deny the allegations.
Inter-clan rivalry in some of Kenya's most remote and sparsely populated regions has been rife since before colonial rule by Britain, which ended in 1963, and politicians routinely have exploited ethnic grievances to gain and keep power.