Kenya: 12 killed in ethnic clashes in Coast Province


A Kenyan store owner sits in Nairobi on Jan. 1, 2008, amid the burned out remains of what used to be a second-hand clothes market that was destroyed by looters during a wake of violence that engulfed the country after disputed presidential elections.

Twelve people have died in clashes between two ethnic groups in southeastern Kenya.

The fighting happened in the Tana River area of Kenya's Coast province, where clashes between the Pokomo and Orma ethnic communities last month killed at least 52 people.

Most of the dead from the previous attacks were women and children who were hacked to death with machetes or burned alive.

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In the most recent attack, armed raiders set fire to houses overnight, Reuters reported.

"These are revenge attacks," Kenya Red Cross official Nelly Muluka told Agence France-Presse.

Mohammed Morowa, a Pokomo, told the Associated Press that 11 of those killed were his relatives.

The Pokomo and Orma communities have a long history of fighting over land and water resources, in what is one of the poorest regions of Kenya. The Pokomo are a largely settled agricultural people, planting crops along the river, while the Orma are largely cattle-herding pastoralists.

In addition to the ethnic clashes, Kenya is also facing security risks due to its proximity to Al Qaeda militants in Somalia. Kenyan police said they seized over 150 bomb detonators in Nairobi on Friday, Reuters reported.

Kenya has been the target of grenade attacks after its troops crushed Al Shabaab Islamist militants in Somalia last year.

The country's second-largest city, Mombasa, was hit by violent protests following the death of a Muslim cleric accused of helping Al Shabaab.

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