Tuesday, 11 September 2012

More deaths feared after Kenya imposes curfew in clash area

Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere (l) and CID boss Muhoro Ndegwa

MOMBASA, Kenya, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Three more people were feared dead early on Tuesday in the coastal region of Tana River in southeast Kenya after 38 others were massacred on Monday, a humanitarian agency said.
The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said it witnessed fresh attacks early on Tuesday affecting Semikaro, Laini, Nduru and Shirikisho villages of Tana Delta where the two farming and pastoral communities have been feuding over natural resources.
"Hundreds of attackers have regrouped and the attack is ongoing with houses on fire and people fleeing. The humanitarian situation is becoming more and more dire as KRCS continues to respond," KRCS spokesperson Nelly Muluka said on Tuesday.
"We are not giving out any death toll until our team including the police have verified," Muluka told Xinhua by telephone on Tuesday.
The latest killings came hour after Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki ordered a night curfew in the area and deployment of more police officers in a bid to curb more deaths.
Kibaki who also condemned the ongoing massacre ordered security agencies to take firm and decisive action against those behind the violence in a bid to restore law and order in the troubled region.
"The killing of innocent women, children, men and security officials is a heinous crime and the perpetrators must be punished accordingly for their outright disregard for the sanctity of human life property," he said in a statement issued on Monday evening.
He said the government has invoked Part 3 of the Preservation of Public Security Act in respect of the affected areas of Tana River County and directed the declaration and maintenance of a dusk-to-dawn curfew among other measures to be published in a gazette notice.
The latest attacks came several hours after about 300 armed raiders killed at least 38 villagers and torched more than 150 houses as the area remained tense following retaliatory attacks from Pokomo and Orma feuding communities.
Among those killed included 16 men, five females, eight children, nine police, and 167 houses burnt.
Kibaki said the government will get to the bottom of the matter. "In the meantime, additional security measures are being taken to deal with the security challenges and normalize the situation. Local leaders must also take a proactive role and preach peace among area residents," Kibaki said.
He condemned the killings that have occurred in parts of Tana River County and ordered security agencies to take firm and decisive action against the perpetrators of the violence
He said the Pokomos who are farmers and Ormas who are pastoralists have been feuding over pasture for some time now.
Sources said the rival Pokomo community has been attacking Ormas who have been driving their livestock in their farms in search for pasture and as a result destroy their crops.
The Orma cattle often stray into farmlands owned by Pokomos and in the process destroy crops. This has prompted the Pokomos in the past to attack the Orma herdsmen, killing some of their animals.
The police said security has been beefed up in the area to contained further clashes between the two communities over rights to land and water resources.
While Pokomo accuse the Orma of allowing livestock to encroach on their farms and of destroying their crops, the Orma complain that Pokomo farmlands are too close to the banks of the Tana River and prevent the herders from using the river to water their cattle. (Xinhua)

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