Four Kenyans killed in reprisal raid: Red Cross

Updated 10 January 2013
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Four Kenyans killed in reprisal raid: Red Cross

NAIROBI: At least four people were killed and several wounded in a retaliatory dawn raid Thursday in the Tana River delta region of southeast Kenya, where scores died in clashes last year, Kenya Red Cross said.
“Four people have been confirmed dead,” local Red Cross official Caleb Kilunde told AFP, adding that an unknown number were wounded in the attack, which comes a day after nine were killed in a raid.
Violence in the region first erupted in August, pitting the Pokomo farming community against their Orma pastoralist neighbors, leading to a series of vicious reprisal killings and attacks that has left more than 140 people dead.
The repeated outbreaks of violence also raises concerns over security and a lack of police capacity in volatile areas ahead of elections due on March 4, with police investigating local politicians for alleged involvement in the unrest.
Thursday’s attacks on the Pokomo village of Kibusu village follows an attack on Wednesday by over 100 raiders on the Orma village of Nduru, in which nine people died.
The two communities have clashed in the past, violence that has often been attributed to disputes over water and grazing rights.
But the scale and intensity of recent killings — with women and children hacked to death or torched in their huts — have shocked many, with some locals accusing politicians of fueling the attacks.
In December at least 45 people were killed in one attack.
The upcoming March 4 elections are for the presidency and parliament, as well as for regional gubernatorial posts and local councils. The run-up to the vote has been marked by renewed tensions both at the national political and grassroots levels.
Elections five years ago descended into deadly post-poll killings that shattered Kenya’s image as a beacon of regional stability, with at least 1,100 people killed and more than 600,000 displaced.


Eritrea responds to Ethiopia PM’s olive branch

Updated 4 min 24 sec ago
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Eritrea responds to Ethiopia PM’s olive branch

  • Eritrea and Ethiopia remain bitter foes after a 1998-2000 conflict that drew comparisons to the First World War
  • Even after the end of the war, the border remains heavily militarised and disputed

ADDIS ABABA: Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki is dispatching a delegation to Addis Ababa for “constructive engagement” with arch-foe Ethiopia after peace overtures this month from its new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, a senior Eritrean diplomat said on Wednesday.
Isais made the annoucement — a potentially significant breakthrough in one of Africa’s most protracted conflicts — earlier on Wednesday, Eritrea’s ambassador to Japan, Estifanos Afeworki, said on Twitter. He gave no further details.
Eritrean information minister Yemane Ghebremeskel did not respond to requests for comment.
Eritrea and Ethiopia remain bitter foes after a 1998-2000 conflict that drew comparisons to the First World War, with waves of conscripts forced to march through minefields toward Eritrean trenches, where they were cut down by machine gun fire.
Casuality figures are disputed in both countries although most estimates suggest 50,000 Ethiopian soldiers died, against 20,000 on the Eritrean side.
Even after the end of the war, the border remains heavily militarised and disputed, most notably the town of Badme which was part of Eritrea, according to a 2002 international arbitration ruling.
Since then, Addis has ignored the ruling and refused to pull out troops or officials, to the fury of Asmara.
However, Abiy, a 41-year-old former soldier who has embarked on a radical economic and political reform drive since taking over in March, stunned Ethiopians this month when he said Addis would honor all the terms of the settlement between the two countries, suggesting he was prepared to cede Badme.
In parliament this week, Abiy also acknoewledged the tensions continued to inflict a heavy economic cost on both countries and said Addis should no longer hide this price tag from the Ethiopian people, another stunning departure with the past.
There has so far been no official response to Abiy’s overtures from Eritrea, one of the Africa’s most closed states.