Last Updated: Wednesday, 09 July 2014, 13:04 GMT

Kenya: Ethnic violence and displacement in Tana River district; a sign of worse to come?

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 20 September 2012
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Kenya: Ethnic violence and displacement in Tana River district; a sign of worse to come? , 20 September 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/505aee352.html [accessed 10 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.

While the violence that erupted between the Pokomo and Orma tribes on 13 August in Tana River district, where at least 116 people have been killed and more than 12,000 displaced, is widely seen as a dispute over water and land, some analysts are concerned that it is also linked to the upcoming general elections in March next year.

The previous conflict that arose following the 2007 elections resulted in one thousand people being killed and 600,000 internally displaced, and there are now fears that the recent violence in Tana River is a forerunner for worse things to come. Tensions are thought to be further fuelled by recent boundary changes where many villages and locations have been shifted into different constituencies.

In response to the recent killings and displacement, the Kenyan government belatedly sent in paramilitary reinforcement and introduced a night curfew. The Assistant Minister for Development and Livestock, Dhadho Godhana, has further been sacked for allegedly inciting the violence.

The Kenyan Red Cross is responding by offering much needed food and non-food items, shelter, relief and health services to people affected by the conflict, most of who have settled in temporary camps. However, there are real concerns over the scarcity of medical supplies and staff.

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