Tribal clash over water leaves 70 dead in Kenya

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The Independent Online

A brutal tribal conflict over water in arid north-east Kenya has left more than 70 people dead, after an Ethiopian bandit attack on children on their way to school prompted an apparent revenge killing by Kenyan tribesmen.

The bandits killed more than 60 people, including 22 children, on Tuesday morning in Turbi, a remote village which is almost 370 miles from Nairobi. The attack is believed to have been carried out by the Borana tribe from neighbouring Ethiopia.

Villagers at Turbi, who mainly belong to the rival Gabra clan, say the attackers wanted to gain control of the village, which has good water sources.

Several hundred Borana tribesmen stormed Turbi armed with AK-47 rifles, grenades, bows and arrows and machetes. They opened fire on the local primary school and killed the security guards that tried to stop them.

Yesterday, bodies and bullet casings were still scattered around the market place and primary school. The injured were taken to the nearest hospital, which is 100 miles away at Marsabit.

"The majority of the dead are mothers and their children and most of them died in their school uniforms," the local MP, Bonaya Godana, told reporters. "The situation is very sad on the ground, everybody is mourning the dead."

Police said that locals from the Gabra clan then attacked a lorry carrying people from the Borana clan, and killed 10 of them in revenge. The tribes have clashed with increasing ferocity in the past three months, and this week's killings are believed to have been revenge for an earlier attack.

The police said that they had managed to recover some of the goats, sheep, cattle, camels and donkeys the bandits had stolen. Inter-tribal attacks and livestock raids occur frequently on Kenya's borders with Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia, but the violence has intensified in recent years. Arms smuggled into the country from war-torn south Sudan and Somalia have made the rivalry more deadly.

Earlier this year, 30 people were killed in similar raids on the Kenya-Somali border, but this week's incident is believed to be the single worst clash since the country's independence in 1963.

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