Last Updated: Monday, 28 July 2014, 16:37 GMT

Kenya: Thousands displaced in ethnic clashes in southwest

Publisher Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Publication Date 25 June 2009
Cite as Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Kenya: Thousands displaced in ethnic clashes in southwest, 25 June 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4a4885d4c.html [accessed 28 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

NAIROBI, 25 June 2009 (IRIN) - Tension remains high in Kenya's southwestern district of Kuria East, on the Tanzania border, where at least 6,000 people have been displaced by inter-clan fighting, humanitarian officials said.

"Although there is relative calm in the district, with no reported incidences of attacks or torching of houses in the past few days, tension remains high in the area," James Kisia, deputy secretary-general of the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), said on 24 June.

Fighting between the Nyabasi and Buirege clans of the Kuria ethnic community began in late May following a cattle-rustling incident in which two people were killed. A retaliation attack that followed resulted in the death of two other people and the torching of several homes.

The Kuria are a pastoralist Bantu people, with a history of clan fighting over resources such as land, pasture and cattle.

Political differences arising from the division of the larger Kuria district in 2007 into Kuria East and Kuria West districts also underpin the latest conflict, Kisia said, with both clans wanting the new district headquarters situated in their divisions.
Aid efforts

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA Kenya), relief agencies are planning further aid for the IDPs in Kuria East. Already, the KRCS has provided emergency relief aid for the displaced.

OCHA said it was supporting coordination efforts at the national level through gathering and sharing of information on the immediate gaps in humanitarian response in the affected district.

A KRCS assessment revealed that both clans mobilised support from their neighbouring communities and relatives from the Kenya-Tanzania border area, during the clashes.

Worst affected areas

The worst affected areas include Wagirabosi/Targai location in Ntimaru Division, inhabited by the Buirege clan; and Girigiri sub-location, and the villages of Nguruna, Getongoroma and Kebaroti in Kegonga Division, the KRCS said.

Kisia said there were reports of gunshots along the Nyabasi-Buirege border on 22 June and that attacks and counter-attacks since late May had resulted in the displacement of at least 6,290 people and the burning of 765 homes.

According to the KRCS, there is no ambulance in Kuria East to support referrals and patients, while water and sanitation facilities remain critical, especially in IDP camps.

The fighting has also disrupted learning in various education facilities, some of which have been closed or are hosting IDPs. The KRCS estimates that 58 early childhood development centres, 58 primary schools and 11 secondary schools have been affected by the conflict.

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