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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 March 2008, 13:00 GMT
Kenyans killed by cattle raiders
Samburu warrior
Villagers in the Rift Valley are often killed in the raids
At least 25 people have been killed in Kenya's Rift Valley region in attacks by cattle rustlers, police say.

Twelve family members were the latest victims during a cattle raid near Lake Baringo on Wednesday night.

The attacks are not linked to the recent post-poll violence in which more than 1,500 people were killed.

But as MPs backed a power-sharing deal this week to end the election crisis, they warned that land and ethnic disputes need urgent attention.

Meanwhile, security forces are still in pursuit of members of the Sabaot Land Defence Forces (SDLF), a militia group that has been terrorising residents of Mt Elgon area in western Kenya.

Kenya map

Troops backed by helicopters are combing the area in a bid to flush out members of the ragtag militia, which was formed in 2006.

The SLDF militia says it is fighting for ancestral land belonging to the Sabaot community and has been linked to local politicians.

The villagers in Baringo district claim some 200 raiders believed to be from the Samburu ethnic group descended on the village on Wednesday evening firing indiscriminately before making away with the animals.

Area police chief Joseph Ashimalla said five raiders were shot dead following the raid but no arrests have been made.

"It is unfortunate that innocent lives were lost but we are pursuing the raiders," he told AFP news agency.

On Tuesday, eight people were killed in the Rift Valley district of Samburu and 200 cattle were stolen.

Several people, who include women and children, have been admitted in hospital with bullet wounds following the attack.

Election probe

In the capital, Nairobi, an international committee set up to investigate the disputed presidential election has been sworn into office at the High Court.

The seven-member Independent Review Committee will be chaired by retired South African judge Johann Kriegler.

Other members come from Argentina, Tanzania and Kenya.

The panel is expected to look at how the votes were counted and examine the independence of the Electoral Commission of Kenya.

It will have the power to summon anyone it thinks may have information and question them under oath.

Thousands of people have still not returned to homes they left during the violence which followed December's election.



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