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MRG concerned over Kenyan violence says minorities and indigenous groups could be seriously affected

4 January 2008

Minority Rights Group International on Friday said it was concerned about the ethnically targeted violence in Kenya that according to reports have left more than 300 people killed and 100,000 displaced in just a few days.

According to MRG’s Kenyan partner organizations there have been incidents of ethnically targeted killings including against people from the Kikuyu ethnic group to which President Mwai Kibaki belongs to. Many people have also been forced out of their homes.

“MRG strongly condemns this ethnically targeted violence that has killed so many people and threatens the lives of thousands more. But we must not forget that the smaller minority communities in Kenya have been reeling with political and socio-economic grievances for many years,” Mark Lattimer, MRG’s Executive Director says.

MRG’s partner groups have warned that minorities and indigenous groups who live in the poorest areas in Kenya are likely to be seriously affected by the current violent climate in the country that has caused a collapse of the transport system and has left some areas crippled with food and medicine shortages.

In 2005 a MRG report said that Minorities and indigenous peoples in Kenya feel excluded from the economic and political life of the state. They are poorer than the rest of Kenya’s population, their rights are not respected and they are rarely included in development, or other participatory planning processes, the report said.