Post-vote un­rest per­sists in Kenya; death toll rises

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL - CHRISTO­PHER TORCHIA AND TOM ODULA In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Ben Curtis and Jerome De­lay of The As­so­ci­ated Press.

NAIROBI, Kenya — In an es­ca­la­tion of Kenya’s deadly elec­tion vi­o­lence, po­lice on Sat­ur­day fired live am­mu­ni­tion at ri­ot­ers and used tear gas on ve­hi­cles car­ry­ing op­po­si­tion of­fi­cials try­ing to en­ter a Nairobi slum where they have strong sup­port.

A young girl was killed by a stray bul­let, nine bod­ies with gun­shot wounds were taken overnight to the cap­i­tal’s main morgue, and a watch­dog group said po­lice gun­fire has killed 24 peo­ple since Tues­day’s dis­puted vote.

The chaos in the Nairobi slums of Mathare and Kib­era, as well as in the op­po­si­tion strong­hold of Kisumu city, con­trasted with wide­spread calm — and cel­e­bra­tions in some ar­eas — in the coun­try of 45 mil­lion af­ter Kenya’s elec­tion com­mis­sion said late Fri­day that Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta won a sec­ond term. Protests, of­ten vi­o­lent, be­gan soon af­ter vot­ing when Keny­atta’s main chal­lenger, Raila Odinga, al­leged vote-rig­ging.

The gov­ern­ment said life was re­turn­ing to nor­mal and that those chal­leng­ing se­cu­rity forces were crim­i­nals in­tent on loot­ing and de­stroy­ing prop­erty. How­ever, the po­lice came un­der scru­tiny for what the Kenya Na­tional Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights, which mon­i­tors gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions, de­scribed as the “un­law­ful and un­ac­cept­able” use of ex­ces­sive force.

Seven­teen of the two dozen peo­ple shot by po­lice died in Nairobi, the com­mis­sion said. It cited al­le­ga­tions that po­lice broke into homes, beat peo­ple, threat­ened rape and de­manded money. The watch­dog group also lamented “the de­struc­tion of pri­vate prop­erty by both civil­ians and al­legedly by se­cu­rity per­son­nel in the course of their duty.”

Po­lice shot and killed two peo­ple dur­ing ri­ots by op­po­si­tion sup­port­ers on the out­skirts of Kisumu, a re­gional po­lice com­man­der, Leonard Katana, said Sat­ur­day. An­other five peo­ple were in­jured by gun­fire in Kisumu, Katana said.

In Mathare, where Odinga has sig­nif­i­cant sup­port, po­lice opened fire to dis­perse pro­test­ers who blocked roads and set up burn­ing bar­ri­cades. As­so­ci­ated Press pho­tog­ra­phers saw po­lice charg­ing demon­stra­tors and fir­ing live rounds and tear gas.

One Mathare res­i­dent, Wy­cliff Mokaya, said his 9- year- old daugh­ter was killed by a stray bul­let while on the third-floor bal­cony of their home.

“I was watch­ing her play with her friends when she sud­denly fell down,” Mokaya said. “She was my only hope.”

Nine bod­ies with gun­shot wounds were taken to the Nairobi morgue from Mathare, a mor­tu­ary of­fi­cial said Sat­ur­day. The of­fi­cial spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he is not au­tho­rized to speak to the me­dia.

An As­so­ci­ated Press pho­tog­ra­pher said po­lice used tear gas on a large op­po­si­tion con­voy try­ing to en­ter the Kib­era slum. Po­lice also fired shots in the air.

The Kenya Red Cross said it helped 93 peo­ple who were in­jured dur­ing the clashes since the elec­tion re­sults were an­nounced.

Po­lice ha­rassed and as­saulted at least four jour­nal­ists cover­ing the vi­o­lence, wit­nesses said.

The un­rest fol­lowed a vic­tory speech Fri­day in which Keny­atta, whose fa­ther was Kenya’s first pres­i­dent af­ter in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tish colo­nial rule, said he was ex­tend­ing a “hand of friend­ship” to the op­po­si­tion.

Keny­atta won with a de­ci­sive 54 per­cent of the vote to nearly 45 per­cent for Odinga, but the bit­ter dis­pute over the in­tegrity of the elec­tion process tem­pered what many Kenyans had hoped would be a cel­e­bra­tion of democ­racy in a re­gional power known for its eco­nomic prom­ise and long-term sta­bil­ity. The op­po­si­tion said the elec­tion com­mis­sion’s data­base had been hacked and re­sults were ma­nip­u­lated against Odinga.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.