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30 killed in raid by Kenya farmers

At least 39 people have been killed when farmers raided a village of herders in south-eastern Kenya in renewed fighting between two communities with a history of violent animosity.

Police said 13 children, six women, 11 men and nine attackers were killed.Forty-five houses were set on fire during the attack.

Anthony Kamitu, who is leading police operations to prevent attacks in the region, said that the Pokomo tribe of farmers, armed with spears and AK-47 rifles, raided a village of the semi-nomadic Orma herding community at dawn in the Tana River Delta.

At least 110 people were killed in clashes between the Pokomo and Orma in August and September.

The tit-for-tat cycle of killings may be related to a redrawing of political boundaries and next year's general elections, the UN Humanitarian co-ordinator for Kenya, Aeneas C Chuma, has said.

However, on the surface the violence seems driven by competition for water, pasture and other resources, he said.

Political tensions and tribal animosities have increased due to competition among potential candidates in the March election.

Violence after Kenya's last general election, in late 2007, killed more than 1,000 people. Officials are working to avoid a repeat during March's presidential election, but episodes of violence around the country are raising fears that pockets of the country will see violence during the voting period.

The Tana River area is about 430 miles (690 kilometres) from the capital, Nairobi.

The use of the waters of the Tana River has been at the middle of a conflict pitting the Pokomo against the Orma, according to research. The Pokomo claim the land along the river and the Orma claim the waters of the river. (Kenya Red Cross)


From Belfast Telegraph