An injured woman is treated at the district hospital in Malindi following tribal clashes. Photo: AP
NAIROBI: At least 39 people have been killed in an attack on a village in a remote part of south-eastern Kenya's coastal region, where deadly tribal violence erupted this year.
The raid on Kipao in the Tana River delta in the early hours ''unleashed terror'' on the inhabitants, police said on Friday.
A police officer in the region said 30 villagers and nine assailants were killed. Police had earlier put the toll at 28.
Pictures on the Twitter feed of the Red Cross, which said earlier that 30 people had been killed, showed the charred walls of mud huts still standing, their thatched roofs destroyed.
The violence could be linked to Kenya's general election, to be held in March. A change in district boundaries has led to a shift in the balance of power between ethnic groups in the area.
The Red Cross said its rescue teams were tending to the wounded, about 30 of whom were in a critical condition. It gave no total for the number of people injured.
In August and September, more than 100 people were killed in violence between rival communities along the Tana River.
Police were unable to stop the violence between the Orma (who are herders) and the Pokomo (who are mainly farmers) and about 10 officers were killed. About 1000 men from the special police forces had to be deployed to restore order.
It was not immediately clear whether Kipao is populated by Orma or Pokomo.
Tensions have long existed between the two communities, conflicts flaring over access to land and water points.
Observers who saw the violence in August and September said the raids were well-organised and some involved militia from other areas.
Tensions between the two communities resurfaced in the past few days during a disarmament operation.