10 January 2013

Kenya: Seven Killed in New Tana Delta Clashes

Eleven people have been killed in another suspected revenge attack in Kibusu village Tana Delta region.   ( Resource: Scores Dead in Revenge Attacks in Kenya's Tana Delta

At least ten people were killed as the violence in Tana River which has since last month claimed 160 lives, escalated.

Seven people died when an estimated 300 heavily armed people suspected to be from the Pokomo community attacked Nduru village in Tarasaa, which is predominately occupied by Orma.

A woman, who was injured during the attack, died as she was being taken to hospital in Malindi. Four administration policemen and a civilian, who were responding to the attack, were injured when their vehicle rolled as they attempted to escape from the attackers who had surrounded them.

There was a stand-off as the villagers refused the police and Red Cross to access the area. The roads were blocked with barricades put up by the villagers who were angry that the police have been unable to protect them from the attacks which started early last year.

Journalists who accessed the area in the morning were later in the afternoon harassed and forced to leave by machete-wielding villagers.

Yesterday's attack came barely three weeks after yet another incident in which 41 people were killed when armed raiders attacked Kipau village in the same division.

The attackers had red headbands and wristbands. Survivors said they were well organised and their commanders used whistles to co-ordinate the raid.

A witness, Musa Wario, said two of the raiders were killed during the early morning raid. Fighting continued in the nearby forest for most of the day raising fears that the number of casualties would rise.

Yesterday, Garsen MP Danson Mungatana asked the government to "execute" the financiers of Tana Delta killings and also use "unconstitutional means" to end the persistent insecurity in the area.

Mungatana attributed the attacks to terror gangs who are in the payroll of people who want to take over the fertile riverine land once the people living in Chara and Nduru are forced to move due to insecurity.

He said the government should apply the same methods used to fight the Mungiki menace to deal with the gang. Extra-judicial killings and the forced disappearance of suspected Mungiki sect members and leaders were the hallmarks of the 'policy' adopted by the government in its fight against the sect.

"Unconstitutional means were used to contain the group, (Mungiki). The same should be done to the gang that is operating in Tana delta. It hasn't identified itself, but I am sure it has a leadership, who must be found and executed since many people are dying," said Mungatana.

He denied that the clashes were ethnic based. "This is a fallacy being perpetrated by whoever is sponsoring the violence. Those responsible for the fighting want the to create the perception that this is a tribal fight. Why is it that when those affected leave their homes for safety to areas such as Marereni, Gongoni, Malindi in Kilifi county they continue to co-exist as Ormas and Pokomos? Why don't they continue fighting among themselves?" he said and denied that politicians were behind the fighting.

Coast provincial police boss Aggrey Adoli blamed the violence on the political and business elite from within and outside the district.

"There is deep rooted animosity and hatred caused by political contest in the area. You cannot say the conflict is about crops or land for grazing, no. This is politically instigated violence. It's due to bad politics," said Adoli adding that the police already have information about the possible financiers and sponsors of the violence.

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