Raiders armed with guns, machetes and spears killed 30 people –including several children – and torched their houses in Kipao village on Kenya’s coast, heightening concerns ahead of elections next March.
Nine of the raiders were also killed in what appeared to have been a revenge attack by settled Pokomo farmers against the semi-nomadic Orma farmers after a series of clashes in August in which more than 100 people were killed.
The two groups have fought over access to grazing areas, farmland and water, but human rights groups have blamed the latest violence on politicians seeking to drive away those they believe will vote for rivals in presidential and parliamentary elections.
If those charges are true, it raises fears of a repeat of the ethnic violence that rocked Kenya after the 2007 presidential election, in which more than 1,200 people were killed.
One survivor said the attackers stuck at dawn. Osman Amran, 63, spoke from a hospital bed after receiving deep cuts on both thighs. “I ran out of my house and left behind my wife and two children and told them not to leave, but the enemies reached my house, killed my family and burnt my house as I watched from where I was hiding,” he said.