7 May 2011

Ethiopia: Clashes On Kenya Border Kill Over 30 - Official

Addis Ababa — Tribal clashes along the Ethiopia-Kenya shared border have killed 34 people in the last week, an Ethiopian official said Saturday.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune, Shimels Kemal, a spokesman for the Communications Ministry of Ethiopia, said the clashes were triggered after Kenya's Turkana herdsmen killed four Ethiopians from the Merille community on Monday at Tondonyang, a remote Kenyan village.

"Merille community members, in retaliation to the four killed earlier, ambushed some 25 Turkana villagers from Kenya who arrived for barter trade at a border point to the Ethiopian side and killed 20 of them" Shimels Kemal said.

"Ten Merille tribesmen of Ethiopia were also killed during the reprisal attacks" he added.

According to the Ethiopian official, 20 bodies have been recovered and sent to Kenya however there are unconfirmed reports saying that there are still 50 Turlkana villagers missing. It is thought they may have been taken hostage by the Ethiopian attackers.

Following the clashes occurred at the common border, Kenya on Thursday wrote a protest letter to the Ethiopian government calling for the arrest of the Ethiopian assailants.

Government spokes person Shimels Kemal confirmed told Sudan Tribune that the situation is now under control and security on both sides of the border has been beefed-up to counter any further revenge attacks between the two warring communities.

"It is now taken under control. Authorities from both sides have launched a joint investigation to hunt down assailants" he said adding a "border meeting is also going on between the provincial security officials of Kenya and Ethiopia to settle the conflict."

Such clashes are common at the shared border of the two East African nations are mainly caused over resources such as pasture or fertile land.

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