MRG condemns ethnic and religious attacks in Kenya and calls on the government to address the root causes of conflicts to avoid escalation of violence
Minority Rights Group International
12 September 2012
Minority Rights Group International condemns the on-going retaliatory attacks between the Orma and Pokomo tribes in the Tana River District, Kenya, and calls on the government to take immediate steps to protect the lives of affected communities and prevent a further escalation of violence.
MRG especially encourages the government of Kenya, building on the positive environment created by its new and progressive constitution, to address the thorny land issue via appropriate legal and institutional reforms in order to reduce marginalization and ease tensions.
‘Cattle rustling and clashes over grazing and farming land are relatively common between communities in arid areas of East Africa and often escalate into revenge attacks,' says Chris Chapman, MRG's Head of Conflict Prevention.
‘This will continue to threaten the stability of many countries in the region, including Kenya, unless the governments act swiftly to ensure dialogue among warring groups, inclusive representation for all communities, and equitable access to land and natural resources,' he adds.
The Red Cross has stated that last month's clashes between two northern Kenya ethnic groups, the settled Pokomo farmers and semi-nomadic Orma pastoralists, have sparked a humanitarian crisis, with over 100 killed and thousands displaced.
According to media reports, violence broke out last month when about 200 armed Pokomo youth attacked Orma villagers in the Tana River district, in an alleged revenge attack over the deaths of three Pokomo at the hands of Orma people. It is estimated that over 50 Orma villagers were killed in the scuffle. Several days earlier, the Pokomo had accused the pastoralists of grazing cattle on their land. (…)
Read full press release.
Read Human Rights Watch’s 13 September article, Kenya: Investigate All Politicians in Tana River Violence.