Revenge attack kills 12 in Kenyan land row

Fri Sep 7, 2012 12:07pm GMT

By Joseph Akwiri

MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - Armed raiders killed 12 villagers and set fire to houses in Kenya's Coastal region, police and the Red Cross said on Friday, in a revenge attack that is part of a long-running dispute over grazing land and water.

The attackers targeted a village in the Tana Delta inhabited by Pokomo farmers late on Thursday, less than three weeks after 100 Pokomo tribesmen armed with spears and machetes attacked an Orma settlement and killed more than 50 people.

The violence follows deadly riots in the main coastal port of Mombasa after the assassination of a radical Muslim cleric. While the two events are unrelated they have exposed deep social, political and sectarian divides that could lead to more violence ahead of a presidential election next year.

"They attacked our people and killed so many of our people, burnt our houses and left us with a lot of pain. Did you expect we would let them get away it?" said 29-year-old Ali Dorobo, an Orma from the area.

Dorobo said some in his community were not satisfied with the scale of their attack, suggesting the violence could escalate.

"We know they will organise another attack and we are waiting. This will not end soon," Dorobo told Reuters by telephone.

Settled Pokomo farmers and semi-nomadic Orma pastoralists have clashed intermittently for years over access to grazing, farmland and water.

The bad blood re-ignited late last month after the Pokomo accused the pastoralists of grazing cattle on their land.   Continued...

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