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Kenyan Police Arrest 7 Suspects of Bloody Tribal Violence

Kenyan police Monday in Nairobi announced they are holding seven suspects in connection with the inter-clan clashes in the northern district of Marsabit, which has claimed 80 lives since last Tuesday.

Police spokesman Jaspher Ombati said the suspects are providing crucial information that may lead to arrest of more attackers.

Armed raiders, believed to have been members of the Borana ethnic group, first attacked villages inhabited by the Gabra community in the Turbi area of Marsabit last Tuesday, killing scores of civilians and wounding more.

At least nine members of the Borana community were killed in a revenge attack the following day.

Both the Borana and Gabra communities have a history of feuding over pasture and water points, and often engage in revenge attacks. Last Tuesday's bloody attack is one of the most deadly inter-clan clashes in the east African nation's history.

He said an uneasy calm is slowly returning to clash-torn Marsabit area as security forces are conducting air and ground surveillance in search of the attackers to avert reprisal attacks.

"We have arrested seven suspects who are providing us with more information that may lead to the arrest of the attackers. The security offices are still on the ground and will intensify patrols until calm is restored in the area," Ombati told Xinhua by telephone.

Meanwhile, the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) said the number of people displaced following clashes between two communities has risen as villagers continue to move to locations they consider safer.
"The situation is still volatile and tense with possible escalation of the conflict. The total number of displaced people has now increased to 9,000 people," KRCS said in a statement.

More people however are still reportedly fleeing their homes into Marsabit town, where makeshift camps have been set up and security beefed up in the area.

The KRCS Head of Disaster Preparedness Farid Abdulkadir said the agency is already distributing relief supplies to the displaced people.

Abdulkadir also said arrangements are being made to ensure a resumption of classes for the thousands of affected children.

The security forces that pursued the bandits after the massacre have so far killed 15 bandits.

(Xinhua News Agency July 19, 2005)

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