13 killed in Kenya in drought-related violence
Thirteen people, mostly women and children, have been killed in central Kenya this week in a cycle of violence between rival farming tribes hit by drought, police and the Red Cross said.
Police spokesman George Kinoti said the violence broke out on Monday when Ilchamus herdsmen, a sub-group of the Tugen people, launched an attack on members of the Pokot tribe seeking to steal their cattle.
Two men died in the fighting in Baringo, which lies some 250 kilometres (150 miles) north of Nairobi.
On Tuesday two Pokot women were killed, provoking further anger among the community which organised their own punitive overnight raid.
"Suspected Pokot raiders in a retaliatory attack to avenge the killing of their town women... attacked Mukutani market", killing five women and four children, Kinoti said in a statement.
Four other people were wounded in the last attack, including a baby and two children, the Kenyan Red Cross said.
"It is unfortunate that the majority of those killed are children and women," Kenyan Red Cross Society head Abbas Gullet said in a separate statement.
"I call upon all involved parties to this conflict, especially community elders from the Pokot, Tugen and Ilchamus communities to come to the table and resolve this conflict, to avoid further loss of innocent life," he added.
Outbreaks of violence have multiplied in central Kenya in recent weeks among groups of semi-nomadic herders mong the hardest hit by the drought which is affecting swathes of eastern Africa.
Heavily armed herders have in recent weeks forced their way into private ranches in central Laikipia, slaughtering wildlife and destroying property in invasions blamed on a biting drought, but also local politics.
A British farmer was shot dead on March 6 while going to inspect damage on his vast ranch caused by herders seeking pasture for their own animals
The police spokesman said security operations had been intensified after the latest violence.