Ethnic clashes in Kenya claim lives of 48

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At least 48 people were killed in a revenge attack in Tana River region of southeast Kenya in clashes involving two rival communities, police said on Wednesday.

The overnight clashes happened between Pokomo and Orma communities in Tana River, police said, adding several people were injured and several houses were also burnt.

Regional deputy police commander, Joseph Kitur said the deceased, including 11 children, were killed in the wee hours of Wednesday in the clashes which also saw several livestock belonging to Orma pastoralists slashed to death.

"I can confirm 48 deaths and among them are 11 children. They were killed in the wee hours of Wednesday in the clashes between Pokomo and Orma communities in Tana River," Kitur told Xinhua by telephone.

He said the Pokomo people who are farmers and Orma people who are pastoralists have been feuding over pasture for some time now.

Sources said the rival Pokomo community attacked Omar community who have been driving their livestock in their farms in search for pasture and as a result destroyed their crops.

At least three people were killed and six others injured in the same region last week when Orma pastoralists attacked Pokomo villages.

The Orma cattle had strayed into farmlands owned by Pokomo and in the process destroyed crops. The prompted the Pokomo to attack the Orma herdsmen, killing some of their animals.

Kirur said security has been beefed up in the area to contain 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 Pokomo farmlands are too close to the banks of the Tana River and prevent the herders from using the river to water their cattle.


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