, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 10 – President Mwai Kibaki on Monday ordered a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Tana River as the death toll following renewed violence rose to 38.
The president condemned the killings and ordered security agencies to take firm and decisive action against those behind the skirmishes and restore law and order in the area.
“The killing of innocent women, children, men and security officials is a heinous crime and the perpetrators must be punished accordingly for their outright disregard for the sanctity of human life and property.”
He added: “Consequently, the Government has invoked Part 3 of the Preservation of Public Security Act in respect of the affected areas of Tana River County and directed the declaration and maintenance of a dusk-to-dawn curfew among other measures to be published in a gazette notice.”
Earlier, Coast Provincial Commissioner Samuel Kilele in whose jurisdiction the killings occurred told journalists in Mombasa that the government may have to deploy the army to contain the clashes.
The latest attack occurred in broad daylight when 300 men surrounded a village in Kilelengwani and attacked inhabitants before setting their houses ablaze.
“The deployment of the military in Tana River County is inevitable. If it continues like this, we have to deploy the military as the conflict is serious,” Kilele emphasised.
At the same time, Kilele announced the arrest of two chiefs and two assistant chiefs over Sunday night’s attack.
The Kenya Red Cross says those killed as at 2.05pm on Monday included 16 men in the village, five women, eight children and nine police officers.
“We have confirmed that 32 people were killed in Kilelengwani area and the bodies have not even been removed from the ground” Gullet said earlier.
Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet said that 167 houses were set on fire and villagers shot indiscriminately in the fresh wave of violence.
“We have confirmed that 32 people were killed in Kilelengwani area and the bodies have not even been removed from the ground,” Gullet said earlier.
“This is situation is getting dangerous… something needs to be done urgently; our volunteers are on the ground assisting several people who have been injured,” he added.
The Kenya Red Cross said it had been able to rescue some of the people trapped in their houses when more than 300 attackers raided the village and engaged officers at a nearby police post in a shootout.
Dozens of men, women and children who sustained injuries in the overnight skirmishes are being treated at Witu health centre.