AFRICA/KENYA - New massacres in the Tana Delta, concern for the hundreds of thousands of weapons in circulation

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - At least 11 people were killed in the village of Kibusu, in the region of the Tana Delta, in Kenya, in an attack carried out at dawn today, January 10. Among the victims were five children. The attackers burned down 19 houses and several victims died in the flames. According to authorities, it seems there was a retaliation for the death of 10 people who were killed in the village of Nduru January 9.
In the area there have been contrasts for years between the Pokomo, farmers, and the Orma, semi-nomadic shepherds, for the division of land and water sources, but in recent months tensions have escalated into mutual armed assaults. The last massacre that took place in the region in 2012 and caused 30 deaths (see Fides 21/12/2012). In Kenya it is suspected that there are politicians that feed the violence in view of presidential, parliamentary and local elections in 2013.
The large number of light weapons in circulation in the country favors the possibility to conduct deadly attacks. According to the Kenya National Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons, a coordination agency against the proliferation of illegal weapons placed under the protection of the President’s Office, are between 530,000 and 680,000firearms illegally detained in Kenya, including many military weapons, such as AK47 (Kalashnikov) guns from Somalia and other countries. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 10/01/2013)