At least 48 people, mostly women and children, have been killed in violent ethnic clashes between two rival groups in southeastern Kenya. The clashes broke out late Tuesday between the Pokomo and Orma rival groups in the rural southeastern Tana River district, leaving 31 women, 11 children, and six men dead. According to regional deputy police chief Joseph Kitur, 34 were “hacked to death and 14 others were burnt to death” in the attack in the Reketa area of Tarassa, some 300 kilometers (185 miles) from the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
The recent incident is the worst single attack since post-election violence broke out in Kenya four years ago. More than 100 homes were also burnt down by the Orma.Authorities say the two communities have clashed before over the use of water resources and land for pasturing purposes. Lawmaker Danson Mungatana says the attacks are revenge attacks, adding that three Polomo had been killed by the Orma group about ten days ago. In 2001, at least 130 people were killed in similar clashes between the two groups. As a result of violence triggered by the country’s disputed presidential election in 2007, some 1,200 people were killed and 600,000 others displaced. SZH/JR