NAIVASHA, Kenya — Hundreds of Kikuyus wielding stones, sticks, machetes, and wooden planks studded with nails confronted rival tribes Monday on a main road, whooping and wailing for blood as violence from last month's disputed election raged in Kenya's Rift Valley.
Having borne the brunt of the violence since the election, Kenya's dominant tribe, the Kikuyu, is fighting back with ferocity.
"I wish they give us just one Luo. I will skin him alive," said a 22-year-old named Edwin, referring to a rival group. He was carrying a two-by-four with nails sticking out, and didn't want to give his last name in case he made good on his threat.
Kenyan police, who've been unable — many Kenyans say unwilling — to calm the tribal tensions in much of the country, fired shots into the air, scattering the mob. But it was clear that the post-election violence has entered a grim new phase of tit-for-tat attacks.
On Sunday, a Kikuyu mob burned several people alive in a home in Naivasha. On Monday, police reported finding another 14 bodies, bringing the two-day death toll to 28, according to Kenyan news reports.
As word of the Naivasha killings spread to the Luo stronghold of Kisumu, 130 miles west, gangs of youths rampaged through the streets Monday, blocking roads with flaming barricades and beating up any Kikuyus they could find. Police shot one man dead, residents said, and news reports said police had killed another in the town of Eldoret.
By nightfall, young Luo men in Kisumu were said to be going door to door in the slums looking to flush out Kikuyus.
"They're going to be doing that all night, terrorizing people," said Hezron McObewa, a doctor. "This is all because of what happened in Naivasha. . . . We're not going to have any Kikuyus left in this town."
The violence exploded as former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's efforts to lead peace talks between Kibaki and opposition leaders stalled.
More than 800 people have been killed since President Mwai Kibaki, a Kikuyu, declared himself the winner of the Dec. 27 election despite huge voting irregularities. The outcome unleashed pent-up hatred against Kikuyus, who make up less than one-quarter of Kenya's 37 million people but have long had outsize influence on business and politics.
The clashes between Kikuyus and rival groups in Naivasha and the market town of Nakuru led thousands of residents to flee their homes with suitcases and mattresses strapped to their backs or balanced on their heads.
The violence has "gone from bad to worse," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in Washington. Sens. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and John Sununu, R-N.H., introduced a resolution calling on President Bush to impose sanctions on Kenyan officials "who refuse to engage in meaningful dialogue to end the current crisis."
Naivasha — about 60 miles from the capital, Nairobi, and better known for its sparkling freshwater lake and charming vacation homes — had been quiet until now. The attacks were certain to unsettle Kenya's economy even further, as Naivasha is a popular tourist destination and the base of a $700 million industry in cut flowers.
In the worst incident, according to residents, machete-wielding Kikuyus chased several people into a house Sunday, locked the doors, doused the house with gasoline and set it ablaze.
A spokesman for the Kenya Red Cross, which pulled bodies from the charred building Monday, said that about 30 people had been inside, but he couldn't confirm the number of casualties. Kenyan news media put the death toll at between eight and 19.
Afraid of returning home and crossing paths with Kikuyu neighbors, dozens of mostly Luo farm workers spent the night on a patch of cold earth outside the farm. In the morning they found a Kikuyu mob staring them down from across the road.
"Today the problem is here. Tomorrow it is somewhere else. It is spreading," said Kennedy Koyo, a 42-year-old farm worker. "Those Kikuyus, they want to remove us."
The Kikuyus screamed, "The Luo must go!" and called for the heads of top opposition politicians. Asked about the attacks around Naivasha, young men confirmed that non-Kikuyus had died but said they didn't know who was responsible.
"Maybe they committed suicide," one red-eyed youth cackled.