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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dozens killed in Kenyan clashes

A severe drought has exacerbated tensions between rival tribes in northern Kenya [EPA]

At least 24 people have been killed and dozens more wounded amid tribal clashes in drought-stricken northern Kenya, local officials have said.

Gunbattles between the Samburu and Pokot tribes began early on Tuesday, said Raphael Lentimao, a member of parliament in the Samburu East district.

"A good number of those shot dead were women and children," he told the Associated Press news agency.

Lentimao said the clashes began during a raid to steal cattle in the district.

Severe drought

"People fear for their security because the raiders are known," he said.

"They came to steal the animals and ... clashed with the herders who tried to block their mission."

The rival tribes have been fighting for land and water resources, which have been limited by a severe drought in the country's arid north.

The drought has shrivelled crops, killed cattle and left millions of Kenyans seeking emergency food aid.

Battles between nomadic tribes are believed to be common in the region but have become increasingly deadly due to the wide availability of modern weapons.


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