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Kenyan officials say 13 killed in clashes between herders

Posted March 15

— Thirteen people have been killed and four wounded since Sunday in Kenya's volatile Rift Valley county of Baringo, where a drought has increased cattle rustling, officials said Wednesday.

The violence occurred despite a police operation to disarm the herding communities.

Four children and seven women were among the dead, Kenya Red Cross Secretary-General Abbas Gullet said.

Illchamus herders attacked Pokot herders on Monday in Partololo village, killing two people and stealing 30 cattle, police spokesman George Kinoti said. That triggered a cycle of revenge attacks by both communities on Tuesday.

"It is unfortunate that the majority of those killed are children and women," Gullet said, calling on all parties to resolve the conflict and avoid further deaths. The conflict continues to hamper local humanitarian work, he said.

The fighting was sparked by the killing of three people, including a politician, in early February.

Livestock thefts by nomadic tribes in the semiarid region are common. In recent decades the switch to guns from spears and arrows has made the raids deadlier. Guns are easily smuggled into Kenya through porous borders with war-torn countries.

Kenya's government has declared the current drought a national disaster. Kenya's Internal Security Minister Joseph Nkaissery says Baringo and Laikipia counties have been affected by violence as pastoral communities scramble for water and pasture.

Deputy President William Ruto launched the police operation in Baringo last month after a public meeting he was attending was disrupted by the deadly shooting of a village official nearby.

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