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Kenya to disarm tribes to prevent deadly clashes

Friday, August 24, 2012    

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenya's government will conduct a countrywide operation to disarm all communities with illegal weapons, it announced yesterday, a day after at least 52 people were killed in south-east Kenya when hundreds of farmers attacked cattle herders.

In addition to the dead, the Kenya Red Cross said that at least 50 people are missing from the attack by Pokomo tribe farmers on the Orma people, who are largely semi-nomadic livestock herders.

Some Orma people were burned to death in their houses, while others were hacked to death or shot with arrows, and livestock stolen in the dawn attack yesterday. Eleven children were among those who died, officials said.

The missing may have drowned or were burned to ashes during the attack at Riketa village in Tana River district, said Sadik Kakai, head of disaster operations for the Kenya Red Cross.

The government disarmament will reinforce security in affected areas, said acting Internal Security Minister Yusuf Haji.

"The government will conduct an operation to disarm all communities illegally armed in the country and ensure security in the affected areas," he said. However, he declined to say when the exercise would begin and how long it would take.

Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere led a high level delegation to Tana River district to boost security in the region and retaliation between the two groups.

Wednesday's attack was retaliation for the killing of two Pokomo farmers last week, said officials. The conflict started with accusations that the Orma graze their livestock on Pokomo farms.

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