Kenya farm clashes turn deadly

Reuters / Raiders armed with guns, machetes and spears killed 30 people, including several children, and torched their houses in Kenya’s coastal region Dec. 21, police said.

Nine of the raiders were also killed in what appeared to have been a revenge attack by settled Pokomo farmers against the semi-nomadic Orma pastoralists after a series of clashes in August in which more than 100 people were killed.

The two groups have fought for years over access to grazing, farmland and water, but human rights groups have blamed the latest violence on politicians seeking to drive away parts of the local population they believe will vote for their rivals in parliamentary elections in March.

If those charges are true, it further raises fears of a repeat of the ethnic violence that rocked Kenya after the disputed 2007 presidential election, in which more than 1,200 people were killed countrywide.

“About 150 Pokomo raiders attacked Kipao village which is inhabited by the Ormas early on Friday. The Ormas appeared to have been aware and were prepared,” Robert Kitur, Coast Region deputy police chief, told reporters.

One survivor said the attackers struck at dawn.

“There were too many gunshots. They used also spears and machetes. I ran out of my house and left behind my wife and two children, and told them not to leave… but the enemies reached my house, killed my family and burnt my house as I watched from where I was hiding,” said Osman Amran, 63, of the Orma tribe.

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