At least 12 killed in ethnic clash in northern Kenya

Updated: 2013-06-23 20:58:00


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MANDERA, Kenya, June 23 (Xinhua) -- At least 12 people, including a police officer, were killed after heavily armed clan bandits struck an entire village in Banisa district in the troubled Mandera County in northern Kentya early on Sunday.

District Commissioner Sammy Mwati confirmed the attack which he said was reprisal attacks between two rival clans living in the restive region.

Mwati said he personally counted bodies of eight people, who were killed in the attack that occurred at Jiriko village some 50 kms from Banisa town at dawn.

He said 16 others were injured, some with serious gun wounds and burns were admitted at the local district hospital, noting that they would soon be airlifted to Nairobi for specialized treatment.

"I am just from the scene of the attacks less than ten minute ago and I saw eight bodies in pool of blood strewn around the smoldering village, and we suspect four more people from the same family were burnt alive in the hut after the bandits set fire on the village," Mwati told Xinhua by telephone on Sunday.

Hostilities between the Garre and Degodia community have been building since the former lost their traditional Mandera central parliamentary seat to the latter in the last general election.

Both Garre and Degodia have communal presence and have sophisticated armed militia in Ethiopia who has been used in clan fighting in the horn of Africa country.

The deputy county commissioner said the bandits were versed with terrain and topography of the area and whenever they commit a felony, they were quick to escape from the pursuing officers.

All those killed are Degodia tribesmen, who are in a bitter bloody conflict which has its root cause on the March 4 election, when a political contest give the Garre grabbing all county seats courtesy of the numerical strength.

On Saturday, the village was attack and a three-year old boy was killed, while on a neigbouring village of Guba three people were killed in cold blood by attackers suspected to be the same, who raided the village this morning.

Mwaiti said administration police officer was also killed, when a government vehicle, which rushed to the scene to take security reinforcement, was hit by a mortar propel hand grenade by the retreating militants, who were in hundreds and heavily armed with weapon.

On Friday, four travelers from Garre community were killed after the two lorries they were travelling in from Nairobi to Moyale were waylaid by suspected Degodia gun men, who also burnt into ashes the two lorries after looting the cargo they were ferrying to Moyale from Mombasa.

As the fighting escalates, the peace talks facilitated by the government and the religious leaders were thrown of the balance, as the two clans took to all mean possible to square out at gun point with reports indicates the clans were coming in with mortar propel grenades and other heavy weaponry.

The country also faces challenges related to resurgence of militia such as the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), and the internal risks to stability posed by Kenya's external war on the Al-Shabaab in Somalia.