Fighting over grazing land between two communities in Kenya killed six people on Wednesday, including three children, and has forced hundreds of families to flee, officials and aid workers said.
The clashes that flared up on Dec. 26 have engulfed several villages in Kenya’s far north near the border with Ethiopia, prompting authorities to deploy security forces.
So far, more than 20 people, including the six on Wednesday, have been killed in the towns of Moyale and Isiolo, and hundreds have been displaced.
“We have deployed security personnel, but the two groups must stop fighting, killing each other,” said Issah Nakoru, the regional commissioner for Upper Eastern Province.
Nakoru said three of the six were children, and did not give other details.
Aid workers said they had been unable to reach most of the villages because the two groups drawn from the Gabra and Borana communities were still engaged in fierce fighting.
“Hundreds of families have fled six villages in Moyale town. We cannot access them because fighting is going on. We believe more people have been killed and many injured,” said a worker with the Kenya Red Cross in the area who did not wish to be identified.
Grazing land is highly valued by Kenya’s pastoralist communities and has often led to clashes. Kenyan security forces struggle to keep peace because of the vast, harsh terrain.
Residents said politicians were doing too little to stop the clashes.
“Some community leaders, both in Kenya and Ethiopia, are responsible for the killing we are now witnessing in Moyale ... Our government is hopeless, incapable or unwilling to arrest people who are behind these clashes,” said a resident of Oda village who had been displaced by the fighting.