NAIROBI (AA) – At least 15 people were killed on Sunday in ongoing clashes between two rival Kenyan Somali clans in northern Kenya near the Ethiopian border, local authorities have confirmed.
“The number of dead so far stands at 15 but the fighting is still on and we have not recovered all the bodies,” Salaah Maalim of the Mandera County Government told Anadolu Agency by phone from the area of conflict.
“We expect it to rise,” he said.
A militia belonging to one clan is said to have crossed into the Kenyan side of the border and mounted a dawn raid terrorizing the Rhamu town for more than four hours.
Residents say there was heavy mortar shelling and gunfight in the town, which is only a few meters from the Ethiopian border.
“For almost four hours there were shooting and explosions in our town,” Aden Bulow, a 38-year-old resident of Rhamu, told AA by phone.
“A relative of mine was among the injured,” he added.
Aden is now among hundreds of residents who had fled the town.
According to one resident, Faiza Zeyrun, his uncle who had just opened his shop for the day had been attacked by the marauding gunmen.
Kenya Red Cross Society said it is yet to confirm the death toll but its Secretary General said some of the injured have been airlifted to Mandera town hospital some 200 kilometers away.
“We are still assessing the situation and getting information as it comes from the ground and will issue a final death toll when all is calm,” Abbas Gullet told AA.
Pasture, politics and county boundaries have fermented tension between the Garee and Degodia clans for decades, leading to on-again off-again fighting.
A meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta in June called for a ceasefire between the warring clans but hostilities continues to flare up.
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