, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere was expected to lead a major security meeting in Tana River on Thursday following Tuesday night’s killings of 52 people.
The meeting bringing together regional police and provincial chiefs will be held at Reketa village in Tarasaa division which remains volatile after the victims were burned or hacked to death, in the worst ethnic violence witnessed in Kenya since the post election violence of 2007.
“We are having a major security meeting on the ground today because we want to understand what the problem is,” Coast police Chief Aggrey Adoli said.
The violence pitting members of the Pokomo and Orma communities follows weeks of tensions over pasture and water.
Iteere has assured that everything possible is being done to apprehend the perpetrators of the mass killings believed to be from the Pokomo.
In 2001, a similar attack occurred in the same region amongst the two communities, leading to the deaths of at least 120 people.
“Today’s meeting is meant to bring these two communities together, so that leaders from both sides can air their grievances and find a lasting solution,” Adoli said.
Victims of attacks were buried late on Wednesday in line with Muslim tradition which is largely practiced there.
“They were all buried yesterday,” deputy Mombasa police chief Joseph Kitur said.
Area Member of Parliament Danson Mungatana said the killings were “revenge attacks”, adding there had been a string of tit-for-tat killings, attacks and cattle raids this month, though on a far smaller scale.
“There have been problems simmering for a while… about 10 days ago three Pokomo were killed by the Orma community,” he said.
“In revenge, the Orma raided villages occupied by the Pokomo and burnt down more than 100 houses. Now the Pokomo have once again revenged by killing about 50 people. These are purely revenge attacks.”
Mungatana said that police had boosted numbers in the region since the attacks.
In 2007, Kenya spiralled into violence after contested elections that pitted candidates from different ethnic groups against each other, resulting in the deaths of some 1,300 people and displacing half a million others.