Agence France Presse
Published — Thursday 10 January 2013
Last update 10 January 2013 7:31 pm
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.