MALINDI, Kenya — In a room by the stairs, Shukrani Malingi, a Pokomo farmer, writhed on a metal cot, the skin on his back burned off. Down the hall, at a safe distance, Rahema Hageyo, an Orma girl, stared blankly out a window, a long scar above her thimble-like neck. She was nearly decapitated by a machete chop — and she is only 9 months old.
Ever since vicious ethnic clashes erupted between the Pokomo and Orma several months ago in a desolate part of Kenya, the Tawfiq Hospital has instituted a strict policy for the victims who are trundled in: Pokomos on one side, Ormas on the other. The longstanding rivalry, which both sides say has been inflamed by a governor’s race, has become so explosive that the two groups remain segregated even while receiving lifesaving care.