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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 17:23 GMT
Kenya ethnic dispute rumbles on
Cattle in Kenya
The Pokomo accuse the Orma of grazing their livestock on their farms
Police say they are hunting for the attackers after two more people died in an overnight raid as part of a land dispute in southern Kenya.

The death toll is now being put at 18 in the violence which first erupted on Sunday between the Pokomo and Orma people in Tana River district .

In the latest incident on Wednesday evening, a group of Pokomos armed with spears, bows and arrows and guns attacked an Orma village sending villagers fleeing.

A total of about 70 people have died as a result of the ongoing violence between the two groups so far this year, but the police have failed to make any arrests so far.

Accusations

An Orma youth leader, Basa Ware, accused the police force of discriminating against them.


He told a BBC reporter that each time a Pokomo village was attacked police officers are rushed to the scene, while attacks on Orma villages are ignored.

He says tension is high in the area and his tribesmen are starving since they were already dependent on relief supplies due to a dry spell and the ongoing violence has made the situation worse.

He also alleged that humanitarian organisations assisting victims of the clashes were discriminating against the Orma community.

Police

However, his claims have been disputed by the area police chief, Peter Muthike, who said his officers are serving both communities equally.

Mr Muthike confirmed that the government had already sent food aid, including maize and rice, to families seeking refuge after fleeing.

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
19 Nov 01 | Africa
Ethnic dispute flares in Kenya
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