Kenya: 10 people die in retaliatory tribal attack
One day after suffering a deadly attack, a Kenyan community retaliated with their own tribal assault on Thursday, killing 10 people and furthering a tribal feud that threatens to explode as March elections approach.
Kenya Red Cross spokeswoman Nelly Muluka said the attack on Kibuso village in the Tana River region of eastern Kenya killed five children, three men and two women. "There are many people who were injured and ferried by ambulances," Muluka said.
Close to 20 houses were torched during the early morning raid. Witnesses said more than 100 people launched the attack, and that many were armed with guns, spears and bows and arrows.
Dahir Bille, a village elder, said the raiders struck after 6 a.m. and sprayed bullets before escaping on foot. "The attackers indiscriminately shot at fleeing villagers," he said.
The attack appeared to be in revenge for an assault Wednesday in which at least seven people were killed, according to the initial death toll. Authorities say there is deep-rooted hatred between the Pokomo and Orma communities, who have been fighting for years. Police say they are investigating politicians, businessmen and powerbrokers for instigating the violence.
Bille also blamed government officials for lax security even after advance reports of an impending retaliatory attack.
"We knew the attack was coming and have been on the look throughout the night only to be struck at daybreak. This would have been preventable if the security forces acted swiftly," he said.
Bille says that more than 200 people have been killed between the communities in the last four months.
Salim Golo, the chair of a local council, described the situation as tense and highly fluid and asked the government to act swiftly to stem up the spiraling revenge armed attacks.
"Tension is very high here. Yesterday 10 people were killed. Today 10 others were also killed. Why then should the government sent troops to Somalia when its own people are suffering and have no security?" Golo asked.
Kenya holds national elections in March, and officials are working to avoid a repeat of the country's last national vote, when violence exploded across the country, killing more than 1,000 people.