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Title: Conflict Motives in Kenya's North Rift Region
Authors: Van den Broeck, Jan #
Issue Date: 9-Sep-2011
Publisher: International Peace Information Service (IPIS)
Abstract: Kenya’s North Rift Region continuous to suffer from violent conflict in which a series of actors are
involved. Armed groups perform widespread and devastating raids against neighbouring communities.
The strength of these warrior groups varies regionally and from case to case. Security operations are
often typified by disproportionate brutality. Power figures are known to instigate violence or organise
and finance armed militias.
Uasin Gishu and Trans-Nzoia bore the brunt of the post-election violence in 2007 and 2008. The violence
mainly pitted Kalenjin warrior groups against Kikuyu communities in a struggle over political injustices
and power but also over economic discrepancies and feelings of ethnic antagonism.
Turkana is the most northern district of the North Rift Region. In the course of 2009 and 2010 the district
proved to be the most violent in the entire North Rift. Here, Turkana, Pokot, Nyangatom, Toposa and
other militias confront each other violently over livestock, pasture and disputed borderlands. Police
and military are likewise involved in large scale violence and are known to distribute weapons and
ammunition to the different warrior groups. Increased attacks and counter attacks in combination
with security operations brought about endless cycles of violence motivated by amongst others ethnic
antipathies, survival strategies and commercial incentives.
Samburu and Laikipia were at the epicentre of pastoral conflict and excessive disarmament operations
in 2009 and 2010. A series of events in which Pokot, Samburu and Borana militias were involved
resulted in an unusual number of deadly casualties and displaced. They also brought about unseen
violent disarmament operations resulting in widespread human rights violations. Here too, violence is
motivated by political and economic considerations and aspects of tradition.
Throughout the North Rift the complicity of power figures, administrators and politicians in armed
violence proves to be a very interesting yet difficult issue. It is believed that politicians and local
prominent figures foment violence and organise armed militias for various purposes.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: ER
Appears in Collections:Non-KU Leuven Association publications
# (joint) last author

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