Kenya Tribal Vendetta Kills 38إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Tribesmen attacked a village in southeastern Kenya Monday, torching homes and sparking clashes that killed 38, in the latest round of tit-for-tat ethnic violence to plague the area, officials said.
The vendetta between the Pokomo farming community and their Orma pastoralist neighbors already left 52 dead last month in Kenya's worst tribal killings in years.
At least 300 members of the Pokomo tribe stormed Kilelengwani, a village in the Tana river delta and near some of the east African country's most idyllic beaches, early on Monday and attacked members of the Orma community.
"We have 38 people dead including police officers. We are doing everything possible to restore peace there," local police chief Aggrey Adoli said.
A Red Cross official said nine policemen are among the dead.
"16 men, nine police officers, eight children and five women have died with 167 houses burnt," Kenya Red Cross spokeswoman Nelly Muluka told AFP.
She said the police officers were caught up in the fighting when they tried to respond to the emergency.
"Some of the dead had gunshot wounds but it appears most of them were hacked to death," Abdulahi Haji Gudo, a member of a local peace group told AFP.
Police have arrested four local chiefs in connection with the violence.
"Four area chiefs have been arrested. These are the people who are on the ground and who must have had knowledge of the attacks even before they occurred," Coast Provincial Commissioner Samuel Kilele said.
"The hunt is on for the attackers," he added.
"Tensions remain high in the area, but the fighting has stopped," Caleb Kilande, another Red Cross official, told AFP from Kilelengwani.
The two rival communities have clashed repeatedly over the use of land and water resources. The Pokomo are a largely settled farming people, planting crops along the Tana River, while the Orma are mainly cattle-herding pastoralists.
"The situation is getting dangerous, something needs to be done urgently," Kenya Red Cross chief Abbas Gullet said in a statement.
The Red Cross said it sent ambulances, paramedics and first aid teams into the village and that a further eight people were still in hospital.
Area legislator Danson Mungatana said a peace meeting between the two warring communities was held on Saturday.
"Something is not right, the violence broke out as a police operation to wipe out illegal guns in the area is ongoing," Mungatana said.
The attack happened in the Tarassa area of the Tana River district, close to the coast and some 300 kilometers (185 miles) from the capital Nairobi.
Last month, the same area witnessed a wave of violence in which at least 52 people, mainly women and children, were hacked or burnt to death in the worst ethnic massacre in Kenya for several years.
The August attack led to the questioning of local lawmaker Dhado Godhana, after Kenya's internal security minister accused him of fanning violence in the region, claims he has denied.
The violence follows warnings last month by Gullet that over 200 Kenyans have been killed in ethnic clashes since January.
Many of the attacks -- often small-scale tit-for-tat raids between rival ethnic groups in remote and impoverished rural regions -- generate little attention.
They are often blamed on tensions between communities sparked by land, grazing or water resources, not politics.
But the latest pattern of violence has conjured up the specter of the large-scale ethnic violence that erupted in the aftermath of disputed 2007 polls.
The bloodletting at the time revealed the fragility of a country that had long been considered a rock of stability in the region and some observers fear a surge in violence ahead of a fresh election.