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Wednesday, June 23, 1999 Published at 18:39 GMT 19:39 UK

World: Africa

Massacre 'involved Oromos', says Kenya

The Kenyan government says it is likely that Ethiopian rebels from the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) took part in a massacre in the north-east of the country last year.

The minister for internal security, Marsden Madoka, said the OLF may have fought alongside Borana tribesmen during an attack by armed raiders on ethnic Somali cattle owners.

His comments came as the Kenyan government published its findings into the so-called Bagalla massacre last October.

He said 124 people died and about 8,000 cattle were slaughtered when ethnic clashes broke out in the remote region between Wajir and Moyale.

Survivors blame Oromos

Bodies of the victims had been found in 46 graves, he said.

The fighting was sparked when Degodia tribesmen allowed their cattle to graze on Borana land without asking permission.

Survivors of the attack blamed Kenyans and Oromos from neighbouring Ethiopia.

However, at the time the government denied that OLF rebels were operating inside Kenya.

Major Madoka said the OLF issue needed to be addressed as it had the potential to disrupt peace in the region.

He said the Borana had been harbouring OLF fighters and that guns were flowing into north-eastern Kenya from Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan.

The BBC's Louise Tunbridge in Nairobi, says that, since the massacre, the border region has been a virtual battle zone with Ethiopian troops crossing into Kenya in pursuit of the rebels.

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