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Tribal Violence in Kenya Claims 75 Lives

At least 75 people, including 26 children have been killed in two brutal attacks in what is believed to be Kenya's worst inter-clan violence, a senior government official said in Nairobi Thursday.

"Currently, those confirmed dead are 65 civilians and 10 bandits. Of the 10 people who were said to have died as a result of the attack on the priest's car, one has been found alive but  in critical state," government spokesman Alfred Mutua told a news conference in Nairobi.

Early Tuesday armed raiders said to be from the Borana clan attacked their rival Gabra clan in Galgallo and Turbi villages in Marsabit district which left 56 people dead.

Later nine Boranas traveling in a car driven by a priest, including four children, were killed in a revenge attack by the Gabra clan.

Police have killed 10 raiders and the others are being pursued near the Kenya-Ethiopia border.

Mutua said the government has beefed up security backed up by helicopters in the lawless northern region where at least 19 other people have been seriously injured.

He said the government has teamed up with relief organizations to send emergency supplies and a medical team to attend the wounded.

"More than a 250 policemen are on the ground to pursue the attackers. The security operation will continue until peace is restored in the affected area. We appeal to the affected people to remain calm and discard the temptation to avenge the attack at the security forces pursue the attackers," Mutua said.

He said investigations will be intensified and stern action would be taken against the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

But as the government insisted the situation was calm, reports from Turbi, and the scene of the massacre say more civilians are fleeing the area fearing further attacks.

Cross-border raids for livestock are common in the area but Tuesday's bloody attack is one of the most deadly such attacks in the east African nation's history.

Humanitarian sources said the Borana and Gabra communities have a history of feuding over pasture and water points, and often engage in revenge attacks.

Over 100 Kenyans have been killed in inter-clan clashes between different ethnic communities over lack of natural resources in the recent past.

(Xinhua News Agency July 15, 2005)

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