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Africa

Kenyan communal violence displaces 5,000

Scores of houses went up in flames after violence ignited between two pastoralist communities in Narok County, Kenya. The authorities have called for calm and imposed a dawn-to-dusk curfew.

Kenia Innenminister Joseph Ole Nkaissery in Nairobi

Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery: Warning politicians who might have incited violence

Over 250 houses were burned down after fighting broke out on December 25, 2015 between Kenya's Massai and Kipsigis communities, which dominate Narok County in Kenya's Great Rift Valley region. At least two people have been killed and thousands displaced.

In Olposimoru village, 35-year-old John Namelok and his family were forced to spend Christmas out in the open.

He told DW that they had to flee their homes and that "the attackers have taken our cows, we have lost property; they have even burned down wheat farms."

The clashes erupted after the killing of two Massai herders. Clutching a bow and arrows, Loyan Lankenua, a member of the Massai community, told DW that Kenyatta Ole Kuyo and Ole Sadera were "shot in the dead of night while they were asleep and their cows were stolen." Lankenua said they wanted the government to explain "who killed our people and who is behind this act."

The Maasai and Kipsigis communities in the area have a history of conflict over land and livestock.

Kenia Unruhen Mann vor niedergebrannten Häusern

Memories of the 2007/8 ethnic clashes in Kenya are still vivid

Police reinforcements

Rift Valley's regional security coordinator Osman Warfa said more than 5,000 displaced people were now camping out at Township Primary School in Narok town having fled the violence.

Warfa said those who burned the houses were playing a "cat and mouse game" with the police, whom he said needed to be deployed more effectively.

None of the suspected arsonists has been arrested after three days of violence, but police said they had sent additional officers to the area.

Kenya's interior minister Joseph Nkaissery has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the region.

He also warned that authorities would crack down on politicians who were found to have fuelled the unrest.

"If you have incited the violence by making calls and sending messages to locals - we have people from Kenyan intelligence, we will come for you," he said.

Communal violence is a highly sensitive issue in Kenya where a volatile combination of political and ethnic allegiances helped to plunge the country into deadly post-election unrest in 2007 and 2008.

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