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Friday, July 07, 2006

Kenyan police kill five near Ethiopian border

MARSABIT, Kenya, July 7 (Reuters) - Kenyan security forces have killed five suspected Ethiopian bandits who attacked a village in the latest flareup in the lawless north, a local official said on Friday.

Kenyan police and soldiers battled at least 50 bandits after chasing them to within 10 km (six miles) of the border with Ethiopia late on Thursday. The raiders had shot dead three locals earlier in the day in a dawn attack on Eladi village in Kenya's northeastern Marsabit district.

"(The bandits) engaged our security team in a fierce shootout but five of them were killed," Marsabit district commissioner Mutea Iringo said.

Cross-border raids are common along Kenya's borders in the arid north and east as mainly pastoral clans fight over scarce resources like water and pasture.

In response to the latest attack, a police helicopter and security personnel were dispatched along a 400-km (250-mile) section of the border to prevent future incursions.

But Iringo said the measures taken to beef up security were not enough to prevent attacks.

"Aircraft should be patrolling the four trading centres along the 400 km border stretch from Turbi to Dukana everyday to monitor the movement of any bandit or militia crossing over the common border," he said.

In April, Kenya sent hundreds of soldiers and police officers to the region after the theft of thousands of livestock and the kidnapping of a woman by raiders. (Additional reporting by Muthigani Kiama)
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