A total of 38 people have been killed and several houses torched in Tana River district of coastal region of Kenya in what is reportedly to be revenge attacks following ethnic animosity between the Pokomo and Orma communities. This is after a group of about 500 people armed with guns, spear and machetes are said to have attacked the police post and killed nine police officers and burned a vehicle before attacking the area residents killing 28 people in the deadly incident.

It is said that, this is in retaliatory attacked after 17 people were killed by unknown militia in the area just a few days ago. But the local administration believed that the attacks are being carried by the Pokomo and Orma militia.

This is barely three weeks when more than 50 people, mostly women and children were killed in a dawn raid at the Coastal region in castigatory attacks over the grazing pasture.

The attack is said to have been carried out by a section of the Pokomo community against the pastoralist Orma community. This has so far seen over 100 people dead in the horror attack.

It also emerged that a section of Pokomo community, armed with guns, spears and machetes, staged a dawn raid on the Orma, revenge of the attacks carried out by the latter three weeks that left around 13 people dead, and many livestock killed.

However, the previous attack was prompted by the defensive mechanism took by the Pokomo people, when members of the mainly pastoralist Orma grazed their cattle on the crops of Pokomo community.

This fuels skirmishes between the two community that saw five people dead (Pokomo), including three children and several injuries reported. It is at this point when the Pokomo resort on a revenge mission against the Orma that left 53 people dead.

Most of the people who were killed on the retaliatory attacked included 31women, 11 children. This also left more than 100 houses torched rendering hundreds of families homeless.

Some of those killed were burned alive as they slept in their houses during the dawn incident with others were hacked to death by the gang. Other people were also shot with scores of livestock killed and maimed.

The pasture row between the Bantu and the Cushitic ethnic communities that reside in the Tana River district of Coastal region is reportedly to have been simmering over the years with skirmishes erupting every now and then.

However, the attack on the Orma by the Pokomo did shocked the whole country thereby billed the worst ethnic violence since the 2007/8 post election violence.

The Orma, Wardei and Malokote communities belong to the Cushitic group of tribes and are said to be closely related to Somali community in many ways while Pokomo who are Bantus are mainly farmers.

Reacting over the matter President Mwai Kibaki has issued an ultimatum barring people from walking and getting out at night especially in the affected areas and promised a thorough investigation over the frequent attack.

The local administration and the leaders have been blamed for slow action in resolving the simmering conflict between the two communities.

However, the government had embarked on measures to disarm the two communities who are said to be in the position of guns. This is according to the Coast Provincial Commissioner, Samuel Kilele. He further said that some of the local administrative officers have been sacked so far especially the area chiefs.

The revenge attack has prompted to pointing of fingers among the leaders in the region with some calling for the sacking of the acting Internal Security Minister who also double as the Defence minister, Yusuf Hajji. This has led to call for an urgent crisis meeting for the Members of Parliament from the coastal region to discuss the way forward over the issue.


Source: AN


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