11 January 2013

Kenya: Eleven Killed in Fresh Tana Ethnic Conflict

Tana Delta — 11 people were killed in the village of Kibusu, in Tana Delta region, in a retaliatory attack by Orma militiamen carried out at the dawn of January 10, on their Pokomo neighbours. Among the victims were five children. The attackers burned down several houses and some of the victims died in the flames.

This comes despite the heavy presence of heavy paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU) teams and other police units in the area. The two warring communities, Pokomo and Orma have been locked in deadly violence since August 2012, leading to deaths of about 200 people, torching of 2000 houses, and displacement of over 40,000 people.

For years, there has existed conflict between the Pokomo, farmers, and the Orma, semi-nomadic people, over the Tana River waters and other resources.

The GSU Commander in the area, said that those who died on January 10, were killed either through burning or being shot. The attackers are still being persued.

Mombasa Catholic Bishop, Boniface Lele accused the government of not taking the issue seriously, saying,

"Minister for Internal security should tell Kenyans if the police have failed to contain the situation, military should be deployed"

Meanwhile the United Nations conveyed its condolences to the Government of Kenya, families and relatives of the communities affected by the current insecurity resulting from violent clashes in Tana River and other parts of the country.

"We join with other humanitarian and development partners in condemning these inhumane acts that have since the beginning of 2012, claimed the lives of more than 450 people, including women and children, and displaced nearly 112,000 people. Several others have been seriously injured both physically and psychologically and many livelihoods have been destroyed," said Modibo Toure, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in a statement sent to CISA.

"In the run up to the March 2013 elections, the United Nations would like to urge Kenyans to exercise their democratic rights in a peaceful manner with respect for the rights and dignity of all concerned," concluded Toure.

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