Kenya cattle raids, fighting leaves 75 dead

Some 75 people have been killed in four days of cattle raids and revenge attacks in northern Kenya, the Red Cross said Wednesday.

"Over the last four days close to 75 Kenyans have died. Is it worth it, and what for?" Kenya Red Cross chief Abbas Gullet said.

"In the 21st century, we can't have Kenyans killing one another -- especially these pastoralist communities who come from a very marginalised environment," he said.

Four days of cattle raids and revenge attacks in northern Kenya have left 75 people dead

Four days of cattle raids and revenge attacks in northern Kenya have left 75 people dead ©Simon Maina (AFP/File)

The violence started in northern Kenya's Turkana and East Pokot districts, and clashes have also been reported in the nearby districts of Marsabit, Samburu and Baringo.

In the worst fighting, gunmen from the ethnic Turkana people are suspected of launching an attack on Monday against an ethnic Pokot village along the Turkana-East Pokot district border, an area where there are frequent deadly conflicts between the two communities.

"There were 54 people who have lost their lives from these two communities of Pokot and Turkana... it is very sad," Gullet said, adding that the dead included five women and four children.

According to a county official, the violence started after an attack by Pokot warriors on a Turkana village in which 100 goats were stolen.

Red Cross teams are supporting some 350 families who have fled days of clashes.

"These communities, through their leadership, should come together with common sense and start talking as opposed to cattle rustling," Gullet said.

Cattle rustling and revenge killings between rival communities are common in Kenya's remote and impoverished northern regions, an area awash with automatic weapons.

In December, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said clashes were escalating due to harsh drought, as well as tensions sparked by the decentralisation of political power.

Last year at least 310 people were killed and more than 220,000 fled their homes as a result of inter-communal conflicts attributed to competition over land and water resources, cattle rustling, and struggles over political representation, according to the UN.

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Kenya cattle raids, fighting leaves 75 dead

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