Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tribal tensions in Kenya

The BBC reports 

Mass graves found in Kenya's
   Tana River Delta region

                           The village of Kilelengwani has been at the centre of the recent violence

Two mass graves have been discovered in Kenya's coastal Tana Delta region.

" The number and identities of the bodies in the graves are unknown, police say. A court order to exhume the bodies has been requested.
More than 100 people have been killed in clashes in the area in the past month between farmers and cattle herders over land and water.
There are accusations that politicians have incited the violence ahead of elections next March."

This conflict has been occurring at a low level for the last decade. Recently it has ramped up in intensity.
The long-running conflict is between the Pokomo people - mostly farmers growing cash crops by the Tana River - and the Orma, semi-nomadic cattle herders.

Kenya have put in 2000 GSU ( General Service Unit ) paramilitary police in to try and settle things down. It doesn't seem to have been very effective.

But investors, both Kenyan and foreign, have been acquiring leases on vast tracts of land in the region for the purposes of large-scale cultivation of food and biofuel crops, says the BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse in Kenya.
Getting elected to office can mean gaining control of such lucrative deals, our correspondent says.

No surprises here. Business as usual Africa style.
There are concerns that as Kenya approaches elections next March, that competition could lead to more of the widespread violence seen after the last poll in December 2007.
The graves were discovered in the village of Kilelengwani, which has been at the centre of the recent violence.

As the photo above shows after the clashes houses wore torched and many villagers have fled.
"We don't know yet whether they are attackers who died while in confrontation with security personnel, or were just victims killed by attackers during the clashes and buried," regional police chief Aggrey Adoli was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Unlikely to be victims of the security forces I would have thought.
Mr Adoli said it was not yet known how many bodies were in the graves.

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