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Monday, 19 November, 2001, 15:17 GMT
Ethnic dispute flares in Kenya
Cattle in Kenya
The Pokomo accuse the Orma of grazing their livestock on their farms
Tribal clashes sparked by a land dispute in southern Kenya have left 14 people dead and 13 seriously injured, according to the police.


Violence erupted on Sunday in the Tana River district when armed cattle herders of the Orma community attacked Pokomo tribespeople, who are mainly farmers.

Police spokesman Peter Kimanthi said among the dead, eight were from the Pokomo tribe and six were Orma herdsmen.

Almost 200 people fled their homes to escape the fighting and were hiding in a local church in Tarasaa.

More than 50 heavily armed police officers were sent to the district to restore calm.

No arrests

The situation was reportedly brought under control, and police were searching for those responsible, but there have as yet been no arrests.

The AFP news agency quoted witnesses as saying the Orma tribesmen were armed with guns, while the Pokomo fought back with crude weapons such as machetes and spears.

Almost 80 houses were torched.

"My men are on the ground to stop this senseless war between these tribes," deputy police chief for Coast Province, Emmanuel Mwachiti, told AFP.

At least 60 people have died in clashes between the two groups so far this year.

The Pokomo accuse the Orma of grazing their livestock on their farms and destroying crops.

The Orma complain that the Pokomo have cultivated farms too close to the banks of the Tana River and prevent the herders from taking their animals to the river.

See also:

07 Aug 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Kenya
05 Oct 01 | Africa
Four die in eastern Kenya raid
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