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Violence linked to land use in Kenya

Jan. 6, 2012 at 1:18 PM

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Violence between rival herding communities in northern Kenya is a cyclic problem that requires government intervention, a U.N. official said.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that thousands of people were displaced from northern Kenya following clashes between the Borana and Gabra livestock herding communities.

"Communities themselves are at the core of resolving this but certainly greater attention needs to be given by central government authorities to rein in this violence and rein in the instigators of the violence," Matthew Conway, spokesman for the East African bureau of OCHA, told U.N. radio.

Conway estimated that as many as 300 people died in similar clashes in recent years. Similar violence was reported between members of the Borana and Turkana communities in the central Kenya as well.

Access to areas affected by conflict, he added, was complicated given the level of insecurity in the region. Conway noted the clashes seem to be revenge attacks based on competition for grazing land. Similar conflicts are reported in nearby South Sudan.

"We seem to be seeing groups competing now for land for grazing and conducting raids on each other's herds of livestock in an effort to restock some of the animals they may have lost during the drought," he said.

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