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12 Kenyans killed in fresh Tana River violence

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 7 – Twelve people were killed in renewed clashes in Tana River on Thursday night, barely two weeks after 53 others were massacred in the area.

Police and the Kenya Red Cross said the attacks occurred at Tarasaa where houses were burnt, in what is believed to be retaliatory attacks by the Orma people against the Pokomos.

“Fresh attacks in Tarasaa last (Thursday) night, 11 killed and 10 injured, 300 cattle and 400 goats missing,” the Kenya Red Cross said on its Twitter handle.

Coast police Chief Aggrey Adoli who led security forces to the area confirmed the incident.

“We are headed there… it is an unfortunate incident. But we have not received all the details,” he told us on telephone from the port city of Mombasa.

Fifty-three people were killed in the same area two weeks ago when the two communities clashed over grazing grounds and water.

The incident raises serious questions on the laxity of security agencies, after Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere visited the area soon after the first incident and assured residents of maximum security.

On Thursday, Dhadho Godhana, who is a Member of Parliament for Galole where the killings occurred, was questioned by police after he was implicated in Parliament for fanning the violence by acting Internal Security Minister Yusuf Haji.

However Godhana said: “I have got nothing to do with that violence. I have told the police as much because I am a peace maker. In fact I have been calling for peace all through.”

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He told journalists that he was required to state what he knew about the violence that rocked his constituency.

“I answered all their questions,” he said. “I have told them all I know about the problems in my area and now it is upon them to finish the investigations,” he said, and declined to go into details of what he told the detectives.

The investigation stems from a directive issued by Haji who accused the legislator of failing to attend key security meetings at the ministry after the killings.

Godhana has previously denied any involvement in the ethnic violence and insists he cannot attend any meeting called by Haji, as long as the agenda is about resolving the problem in his constituency, accusing the minister as an interested party.

“How can I attend a meeting he (Haji) is chairing yet he has an interest in the issues of our area? I maintain my earlier stand. I cannot attend any of his meetings if he is the one chairing,” he said.

The Livestock Development Assistant Minister believes it is the beginning of his troubles, having recorded the statement with the police.

“I know this is just the beginning of issues, but I want to say that my statement was very, very voluntary,” he said.

Police said the attacks were perpetrated by the Pokomos who were against their Orma neighbours inhabiting parts of Tana River.

At least 10 suspects – including five local chiefs – were arrested soon after the violence and charged in court.

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They however, denied involvement in instigating the violence or participating in any way. After the deadly violence was reported, the government intensified security in the area-including establishing a police post.


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