Kenya Tana River renewed ethnic clashes kill 30

Nurses attend to a victim of the Tana river clashes between the pastoralists and farmers within the Tana river delta, at the Malindi District hospital, 7 September 2012 The Orma and Pokomo communities have a long history of tension over access to land and water

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At least 30 people have been killed in renewed ethnic clashes in south-east Kenya.

Children and policemen were among those killed in an attack on a village by hundreds of people.

Nearly 100 people have now been killed in the clashes in the eastern Tana River district since last month.

Rival ethnic groups have been involved in tit-for-tat violence over cattle-grazing rights in the region, one of the poorest in Kenya.

The Red Cross said that in this latest violence, Kilelengwani village was attacked on Monday by more than 300 people, who set fire to 167 houses.

Violent history

At the scene

Tana River map

The Tana Delta has a deceiving allure of peace, with mango trees dotting the river banks and a calm wind blowing from the nearby Indian Ocean.

The village of Chamwanamuma, which was attacked by members of the pastoral Orma community last week was almost deserted on Sunday, except for with young men armed with bows and arrows.

Women and children were fleeing the area and seeking refuge in a nearby school.

I met a 15-year-old boy who told me he was leaving for Mombasa. His parents had died in the clashes. ''I'm selling my chicken so that I can raise my fare,'' he said.

It was clear from the utterances of some of the Pokomo villagers that a revenge attack was imminent - and this now seems to have happened.

"The bodies have not been removed from the ground... The situation is getting dangerous, something needs to be done urgently," Kenya Red Cross chief Abbas Gullet said in a statement.

Mr Gullet put the death toll at 39, saying eight children were among the dead.

A police spokesman told the BBC that 30 people had been killed, including eight policemen.

Last month more than 50 people were killed in the fighting and a further 12 died last week.

It is the worst violence to hit Kenya since disputed presidential elections in 2007.

The Orma and Pokomo communities have a long history of tension over access to land and water in this ecologically rich area.

The Pokomo are mostly farmers, while the Orma are semi-nomadic cattle-herders.

The BBC's Anne Mawathe, who visited the area at the weekend, says it was clear that there would be a new revenge attack and this now seems to have happened.

She says the long-standing rivalry between the two communities has been made worse by an influx of weapons from neighbouring Somalia.

Some analysts say there may be a link between the violence and parliamentary and presidential elections which are due in March 2013.

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