Update to KEN32456.E of 3 August 1999 on the conflict between the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin; whether the conflict has escalated since 2000; are young Kikuyu women targeted for assault and the destruction of their property; is the conflict present in the Rift Valley region including Nyahururu, Nakuru and Nairobi [KEN39444.E]

According to a professor of political science at the University of Ottawa who is currently writing a book entitled Deteriorating Human Security in Kenya: Domestic, Regional and Global Dimensions, "few cases of ethnic clashes reported in the Kenyan newspapers are specifically between Kalenjin and Kikuyu, but that certainly does not mean that an escalation has not occurred" (23 Aug. 2002). He claims that there has been an increase in ethnic violence since 2000 and that it will likely get "much worse" in the run-up to the next presidential elections which are scheduled for 2002 (ibid.). Without mentioning the Kikyuyu and Kalenjin specifically, a report by IRIN also claims that:

Inter-ethnic clashes and civic unrest in Kenya continued to plague many communities across Kenya throughout 2001. From the capital, Nairobi, to Turkana in the far northwest of the country, rising tensions frequently exploded into violent clashes between neighbouring communities, forcing families to flee their homes, exacerbating food shortages and increasing reliance on emergency relief aid (IRIN 11 Jan. 2002).

Regarding the areas in which conflict is reported, the University of Ottawa professor said that Nyahururu has been a "prominent" site of anti-Kikuyu violence and that "many" violent attacks have taken place in recent years (23 Aug. 2002). He further stated that Nakuru was the focus of "large-scale" attacks in early 1998 and in both Nakuru and Nyahururu, the Kikuyu were "driven away" and their land redistributed (ibid.). He claimed that "[u]nder such circumstances, it could be extremely dangerous for a Kikuyu to return" (ibid.). Regarding ethnic-based violence in Nairobi, the professor stated that "[i]n the past year, there has been a clear rise in ethnic-based attacks in Nairobi, particularly in the Kibera slum where a dozen people were killed in late 2001" (ibid.). An IRIN article corroborates this claim and reports that 12 people were killed, several others injured and an estimated 3,000 people displaced (IRIN 13 Dec. 2001).

Although information on assault specifically against young Kikuyu women could not be found among sources consulted by the Research Directorate, a comprehensive report by Amnesty International, entitled Kenya: Rape -- the Invisible Crime, details violence against women in Kenya. This report can be consulted at Regional Documentation Centres and online at http://www.amnestyusa.org/stoptorture/women/kenya_invisible.pdf.

The University of Ottawa professor claims that during some incidents of ethnic or tribal violence women are specifically targeted and are raped or killed (23 Aug. 2002). According to a recent report by UNIFEM on the dispossession of Kenyan women "the most common form of sexual violence against women during ... clashes and in places where they sought refuge was rape. Recent violence, be it ethnic skirmishes or cattle raids, is invariably characterised by killings, destruction of property and rape" (UNIFEM Jan. 2002, 22).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Amnesty International (AI). 8 March 2002. Kenya: Rape -- The Invisible Crime http://www.amnestyusa.org/stoptorture/women/kenya_invisible.pdf [Accessed 23 Aug. 2002]

Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) [Nairobi]. 11 January 2002. "Kenya: IRIN Focus on Violent Clashes in 2001 //yearender//." http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=18913&SelectRegion=East_Africa&SelectCountry=KENYA [Accessed 23 Aug. 2002]

_____. 13 December 2001. "Kenya: Focus on Clashes in Kibera Slum, Nairobi." http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=17688&SelectRegion=East_Africa&SelectCountry=KENYA [Accessed 23 Aug. 2002]

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM); African Women in Crisis Programme. January 2002. Prisca Mbura Kamungi. The Lives and Life-Choices of Dispossessed Women in Kenya. http://www.db.idpproject.org/Sites/IdpProjectDb/idpSurvey.nsf/EEF09CEB3F5CE7A8C1256B90002F6825/$file/UNIFEM+_dispossessed+women+report_.pdf [Accessed 23 Aug. 2002]

University of Ottawa. 23 August 2002. Correspondence with professor of political science.

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases

Keesings Record of World Events


One oral source could not provide information on the above-mentioned topic.

Internet sites including:

Africa Online

Africa Confidential


BBC Africa

East African Standard

Global IDP

Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Relief Web

U.S. Department of State

World News.com

World News Connection (WNC)

Unsuccessful attempts to reach three sources.

Search engines including:


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