31 December 2007

Kenya: Death and Chaos After Kibaki Win

Nairobi — Violence continues to rock several parts of the country following the swearing in of President Kibaki for a second five-year term.

At least 19 people have been shot dead in Kisumu, while violence has persisted in Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru, Kuresoi, Molo, Eldoret, Kakamega, Busia, Kisumu, Ahero, Migori, Kericho, Kitale, Lugari and Homabay.

At the same time, Police commissioner Hussein Ali has denied claims that ODM party leader Raila Odinga has been arrested. The commissioner also declared ODM's rally at Nairobi's Uhuru Park illegal.

In a statement faxed to the Nation, the commissioner said contrary to alarming SMS messages being sent around, police do not have custody of either Langata MP-elect Raila Odinga or Eldoret North MP-elect William Ruto.

The grounds have since early morning been surrounded by a heavily armed detachment from the paramilitary General Service Unit.

The police chief asked those aggrieved over the election process to seek redress in the courts, and cease any acts that would incite the public to violence.

Mr Odinga, in a brief comment to reporters this morning, ruled out any negotiation with President Kibaki.

“I don’t recognise Mwai Kibaki as President. The country is in a state of mourning because ODM has been robbed of leadership. Kibaki can only hope to remain in power with the support of the military,” said Mr Odinga.

The ODM leaders are currently locked in a meeting after the police declared their planned rally this afternoon illegal.

Meanwhile, violence continues unabated in several Nairobi estates, including Dandora, Mathare, Kariobangi, Kawangware and Kibera.

Police have cordoned off Uhuru Park. Nobody is allowed inside the park, including news reporters. The GSU and regular police are also stationed on all roads leading to the Kibera slums.

Nairobi city centre is deserted as several shops remain closed. There is heavy police presence and gun shots were heard in parts of the central business district shortly after 11am. In some areas, police are turning away pedestrians from entering the town.

In Kisumu, reporters counted 19 bodies with bullet wounds at the Nyanza Provincial General Hospital’s mortuary. Violence has rocked the lakeside city for the third day in a row.

“The mortuary attendant has confirmed to our reporters that the bodies were brought in from last night,” the Nation bureau chief in Kisumu Julius Bosire said.

Nation staff at the Kisumu Bureau offices spent the night in the office as it was unsafe to move around.

In Narok, residents woke up to find the open air market torched. Foodstuff worth thousands of shillings was destroyed and 50 stalls torched.

A truck was set ablaze and at least four people injured.

The Narok Divisional Police Commander Mr Patrick Wambani said that the injured were admitted to the Narok District Hospital.

Police have arrested two people who are being questioned at the Narok Police Station.

In Mombasa, it is chaos as looters continue to raid shops while police watch helplessly.

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