Kenya's Tana River clashes: MP charged with incitement

Police walk past the remains of houses which were burned down during clashes in Chamwanamuma village, Tana River delta, north of Mombasa in Kenya Friday, Sept. 7, 2012. Many houses have been burnt down during the violence

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A Kenyan politician has been charged with inciting violence that has claimed more than 100 lives in the south-east Tana River area since last month.

Assistant Livestock Minister, MP Dhadho Godhana, denied the charge during a court appearance.

Two communities with a history of rivalry over access to water and land have been engaged in tit-for-tat raids.

Meanwhile, the Kenyan parliament has called on the government to deploy the army to stop the fighting.

Danson Mungatana, the MP who introduced the motion, said police were doing little to quell the violence between the Orma and Pokomo communities.

'Senseless violence'

Mr Godhana was released on bail after appearing in court in the capital, Nairobi.

Acting Internal Security Minister and Defence Minister Yusuf Haji had earlier accused him of fuelling the conflict - a charge he strongly denied.

Tana River map

Speaking at the graduation of a military police unit in Nairobi on Wednesday, President Mwai Kibaki said he intended to send some of the graduates to help restore order.

"Extra security forces have been mobilised to act against the senseless loss of lives," he said.

"We will deal firmly and and decisively against those behind the skirmishes."

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe says the violence has left at least 112 people dead since last month.

A dusk-to-dawn curfew was declared on Monday after 38 people, including children and policemen, were killed.

Despite the curfew, violence has continued, claiming three more lives.

More than 150 homes have also been torched in the conflict.

The Orma and Pokomo have a long history of tension over access to land and water in the ecologically rich area.

The Pokomo are mostly farmers, while the Orma are semi-nomadic cattle-herders.

The BBC's Anne Mawathe, who visited the area at the weekend, says the long-standing rivalry between the two communities has been made worse by an influx of weapons from neighbouring Somalia.

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