Monday, January 24, 2005

Violence over water supplies has erupted in Kenyan where villagers in Kenya's central Rift Valley are fleeing their homes after at least 15 people were killed in weekend tribal clashes over water rights.

More than 2,000 displaced Kikuyu are now in Mai Mahiu township while a large but undetermined number of Maasai tribespeople were reported to have fled their homes for Narok, further west, the correspondent said.

The fighting, which started on Friday, pits crudely armed youths from the nomadic Maasai against Kikuyu farmers in the Mai Mahiu region, about 60 kilometres (35 miles) northwest of the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. ...

The weekend fighting was sparked when Maasai herders invaded a farm owned by a local Kikuyu leader accused of diverting water of the Ewaso Kedong river to irrigate his crops.

The Maasai said the diversion had cause a shortage of water downstream for their animals.

The Maasai and Kikuyu communities have been at loggerheads over access to water and pasture since 1960s.

As the age of shortages continues, this sort of violence is very likely to increase. Water will become a resource more valuable than oil.


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