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Ethnic clashes kill 38 in Kenya

By Shabtai Gold and James Reinl –

NAIROBI, Kenya — A new ethnic attack in Kenya has left 38 people dead, including several law enforcement officials, the local Red Cross reported Monday.

The emergency relief group said women and children were among those killed and injured in the latest strife between Pokomo pastoralists and Orma farmers in the Tana River district of Kenya’s coastal region.

The injured mainly sustained wounds from spears and traditional knives.

“We have tried to work with the government and the two groups, the Pokomo and the Ormo, to broker a peace deal,” Red Cross spokeswoman Nelly Muluku said. “But this violence comes from within, and only the people involved can decide whether they want peace or not.”

Since last month, at least 109 people have been killed in a series of ethnic clashes and revenge attacks over cattle grazing rights and access to water in the eastern Tana River district.

Analysts have expressed concern that ethnic tensions are rising ahead of elections scheduled for early 2013. Recent elections in the East Africa economic powerhouse have been plagued by violence along tribal lines, including clashes in 2007 and 2008 that killed more than 1,000 people.

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