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Thirty people killed in Kenya clashes: Red Cross

December 21, 2012

Kenyan police officers stand guard. — File

NAIROBI: At least 30 people were killed when farmers raided a village of herders in southeastern Kenya early Friday in renewed fighting between two communities with a history of violent animosity, the Kenya Red Cross said.

Five children and five women were among the dead, the Red Cross said.

Forty-five houses were set on fire during the attack, Red Cross spokeswoman Nelly Muluka said.

Anthony Kamitu, who is leading police operations to prevent attacks in the region, said that the Pokomo tribe of farmers raided a village of the Orma herding community at dawn in the Tana River Delta.

He said the raiders were armed with spears and AK-47 rifles.

At least 110 people were killed in clashes between the Pokomo and Orma in September and October. The tit-for-tat cycle of killings may be related to a redrawing of political boundaries and next year's general elections, the UN Humanitarian coordinator for Kenya, Aeneas C. Chuma, said in September.

However, on the surface the violence seems driven by competition for water, pasture and other resources, he said.

Political tensions and tribal animosities have increased due to competition among potential candidates in the March election.

Violence after Kenya's last general election, in late 2007, killed more than 1,000 people.

Officials are working to avoid a repeat during March's presidential election, but episodes of violence around the country are raising fears that pockets of the country will see violence during the voting period.