48 dead in ethnic clashes in Kenya

Aug. 22, 2012 at 1:04 PM
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NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Police said Wednesday that clashes between rival ethnic groups in southern Kenya left at least four dozen people dead.

Kenyan authorities said fighting between the Orma and Pokomo ethnic groups left at least 48 people dead in some of the worst fighting since disputed presidential elections in 2007. Police said many of the victims were women and children killed with machetes, the BBC reports.

The BBC reports that clashes between the two ethnic groups are common but the level of violence is rare. Both sides have fought over grazing and water rights in the past. Similar fighting in 2001 left at least 130 dead in the region.

The International Criminal Court in January charged four high-ranking Kenyan officials with crimes related to conflicts that erupted after 2007 elections. More than 1,000 people were killed in fighting between supporters of incumbent President Mwai Kibaki and those of rival Raila Odinga.

Odinga was later appointed prime minister in a power-sharing deal with Kibaki. Kenya has elections early next year.

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