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Tuesday, 4 December, 2001, 12:07 GMT
Brutal killings in Nairobi slum
Riot police look at dead body
People were hacked to death with machetes
Several people are reported dead after clashes sparked by a dispute between landlords and tenants over rent in Nairobi's largest slum, Kibera.

They're killing our people with machetes and clubs because they want to force us out of our land. They want our residences

Fatma Nynazwa
Local resident
The unrest began early on Tuesday morning and is reported to be continuing.

The clashes have taken on an ethnic dimension as many landlords are Nubians, originating from Sudan, while many tenants are ethnic Luos.

A number of houses have been set on fire and police have intervened firing live ammunition and tear gas to break up the disturbances.


AP news agency, quoting witnesses and police, said at least 10 people have been killed.

"They're killing our people with machetes and clubs because they want to force us out of our land. They want our residences," said Fatma Nynazwa as she tried to help an injured man.

Kibera residents have fled the fighting

Chief Government Pathologist Kirasi Olumbe told AFP news agency that six corpses had been taken to the city mortuary.

They appeared to have been hacked to death with machetes, he said.

There have been a number of violent incidents in the past week.

Title deeds

The BBC's Tom Mckinley in Nairobi says that tensions between tenants and landlords were beleived to have been fuelled by President Daniel arap Moi in October.

He had told the tenants that they were paying too much in rent because the landlords did not own the land.

Tension was further heightened on Monday when the local MP, Raila Odinga, an ethnic Luo visited the area.

Burning Kibera house
The fighting took on an ethnic dimension

"The government is the true landlord, the landlords are the tenants and tenants are the subtenants ... the government will tell the landlords to lower the rent," he told the thousands who had gathered to hear him.

The Nubians were settled in the Nairobi region during the colonial era but have never been given title deeds to the land.

Some 500,000 people are estimated to live in the sprawling slum where there is little running water and poor sanitary facilities.

The BBC's Linda Duffin
"An ongoing dispute between landlords and tenants"
The BBC's Muliro Telewa
"The four bodies I saw had big cuts on their heads, legs and arms"
See also:

01 Dec 00 | Africa
More unrest in Nairobi
08 Aug 01 | Africa
New Nairobi mayor
18 Aug 00 | Africa
Nairobi's taps run dry
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