Just a couple of weeks after 62 people were killed in the Tana River –Mandera massacre, and just hours after 12 others were killed in inter-clan violence in Mandera, 38 people including nine policemen were killed in the latest attacks between the Pokomo and Orma at Kilelengwani village. This led to the government imposing a dawn to dusk curfew in the entire Tana Delta District.
In the Standard according to Mr Hassan Musa, the Kenya Red Cross coordinator for Malindi and Magarini, aid officials had collected 36 bodies from burnt houses that included those nine policemen, five women, 16 men and eight children. All were killed either through burning, gunfire or beheading. The body count was later revised to 38 dead.
Leaders and Kenyans across came out to condemn the killings and called for decisive action.
The president condemned the killings and in his speech he said, “The killings of innocent women and children, men and security officials is a heinous crime and the perpetrators must be punished accordingly,” he said adding “The government will get to the bottom of the matter. Local leaders must also take a proactive role and preach peace among area residents.”
According to Daily Nation, an outraged Mudavadi said that vigilante groups in Tana River must come to an end. “We should not let innocent lives become collateral damage to bad politics. Let us not compromise on the security of our people,” the DPM said.
A statement from DPM Uhuru Kenyatta read in part: “It’s saddening to see lives being lost, homes being burnt down and livelihoods compromised. I appeal for calm in the area. Specifically, I urge all communities in the Tana Delta to initiate inter-community dialogue to promote peaceful co-existence.”
Central Imenti MP Gitobu Imanyara asked that all political campaigns be suspended immediately until peace was restored in all parts of the country hit by insecurity.
The death of more than 100 people in Tana River District in less than one month is a sad and unfortunate tale and this has put the government under serious scrutiny from Kenyans including the social media who have asked: How many more innocent Kenyans must die in Tana River for the State to take decisive action?
According to the Nation, the forthcoming General elections were yesterday cited as among the reasons for intensified attacks between the Pokomo and Orma.
Orma elders who talked to the Nation said some Pokomo politicians were uncomfortable with the unity between Ormas and Wardeis as it made them a formidable political force.
SURVIVORS SPEAK OF THE HORRIFIC ORDEAL
According to The Star, the attackers arrived at 7.30am, firing in the air, making most villagers flee. Speaking to the Star, Abarufu Dhabo a villager who is disabled said, “They divided themselves into two groups, others went to the officers side and others in the village to start the burning. The whole process didn’t last for more than one and a half hours. Those in the mosque were burnt as they sought refuge, just the same way as those in a private school in the village were killed. The youth wore red ribbons on the forehead. I saw them enter the mosques and kill people, even cattle. The police tried to pursue them but were overpowered.”
A former councilor in Kilelengwani ward lost his wife who was burnt to death. “We were together with the Kenya Police Reservist officer when they struck, but they overpowered us as the officers shot at them, and we had no option but to flee to a nearby forest,” he said.
Police constable Patrick Muteheri, one of the patients admitted at the Malindi District Hospital was speared in the stomach and shot in both legs and left for dead. “They thought I was dead and left me,” the officer said.
Imam Maalim Ware Abadada was also not spared, “when I was talking to the policemen brought to guard our village. I pleaded with the attackers telling them that I am an Imam, but they did not care and proceeded to attack me”.
A witness, Ishmael Jaso, 33, said he was sleeping when the alarm was raised that the village had been attacked. “When I came out, I saw a huge crowd of more than 500 people surrounding the village. They were torching houses and shooting people indiscriminately,” Jaso Said.
Most recently Capital news have reported three more deaths today.
“Three more people were killed in fresh attacks in Tana River (this) Tuesday morning, despite a dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed there on Monday when some 38 people were killed.
Police said the killings occurred at Semikaro area even as more police officers were deployed to quell the chaos.
“Three people have been killed and the fighting is currently going on,” a senior police officer told Capital FM News from Tana River.
The Kenya Red Cross Society said there were also attacks at Nduru and Shirikisho villages within Tana Delta.
“We have witnessed fresh attacks since this (Tuesday) morning. Hundreds of attackers have regrouped and the attack is ongoing with houses on fire and people fleeing,” KRCS said in a statement adding. “The humanitarian situation is becoming more and more dire as KRCS continues to respond.”
Police officers deployed to the area were forced to retreat after more than 200 militia started shooting indiscriminately at them near one of the burning villages – according to police sources.
Acting Internal Security Minister Yusuf Haji was expected in the area later on Tuesday with a high-powered delegation of security officials including Criminal Investigations Director (CID) Director Ndegwa Muhoro and Administration Police Commandant Samuel Arachi.”