Children massacred in Kenyan school

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Somali refugee children waiting to be registered at Dadaab, Kenya on May 26, 2005.

During a raid by cattle rustlers in northern Kenya, as many as 55 Kenyans were killed, twenty of them children.

Up to 400 members of the Borana tribe living across the border in Ethiopia attacked the nomadic Gabra people aiming to steal their livestock. The societies are not monetarized - cattle is the main form of wealth.

The two groups have been fighting over water and pastures for years in the semi-arid land. Cross-border raids for livestock are very common in the area, but it is said that this is one of the most deadly and severe attacks in Kenya's history. The attack may be in retaliation for an earlier raid on the Borana, in which six people were killed.

Whole families were killed in this most recent attack. Okille Hukha survived when he ran into a bush, but his wife and four children were murdered. Darare Bathachas' son, wife and grandson were also killed, but she survived by going under a bed.

A woman watched as her four children were killed, and her husband beheaded. A grandmother spoke of how she hid under a table while her forty year old son, his wife and their nursery school age son were killed.

Ten Borana were later killed in a revenge attack.

Kenyan police are pursuing the attackers, moving on foot in the rugged terrain but supported by three helicopters. Thousands of sheep and goats as well as cattle, camels and donkeys have been recovered.

The Kenyan Red Cross Society have sent a helicopter carrying medics and supplies to aid the injured in the local hospital.