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Children victims of brutal slaughter

UNICEF appalled by the massacre of at least 16 children in Kenya

NAIROBI, KENYA, 15 March 2005 - UNICEF is appalled by the brutal slaughter of at least 16 children in clashes in Mandera District, Kenya, today.  Speaking from South Africa, UNICEF Representative for Kenya, Heimo Laakkonen, expressed horror at the viciousness of the attack. “The shocking reality is that children seem to have been the primary target,” he said.

The attack took place at El Golicha, about 10km from Elwak Town in Mandera District. El Golicha is a watering point for pastoralists, and where members of the Garre clan live.  Their assailants apparently came from a rival clan, the Murule. The two clans have feuded over access to water for many years. Last time the Marule were apparently the victims of a Garre attack. During the early hours of March 15, they came to seek revenge.

The assailants crept into El Golicha  while most of the Garre men were out guarding their livestock. They attacked the manyattas where children and women were sleeping, setting some of the huts ablaze, and using guns and swords to attack those who tried to flee.

“In the arid lands of Kenya, water means life,” said Laakkonen, “yet too often these days it is an excuse for killing and death.”

He pointed out that this was just one incident in a series of clashes that have engulfed communities in many parts of Mandera, and elsewhere in Kenya as well. In Mandera alone, over twenty thousand people have been displaced by violence in recent months.

“No one wins in these conflicts,” said Laakkonen. “Whole livelihoods are destroyed, families are torn apart and it is always the children who suffer the most.”

He called on the authorities to restore order, to protect children, and also pleaded with civil society to work with communities like the Garre and the Murule to help build peaceful methods of conflict resolution.  “So that the children of these clans will have the same rights as most of Kenya’s children, to grow up, go to school, and sleep in peace,” he said.

For more information, please contact :
Brenda Kariuki, Nairobi +254-20-622977 bkariuki@unicef.org
Sara Cameron, Nairobi +254-20-622977 scameron@unicef.org


 

 

 

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