Kenya opposition to resume protests

Five more people killled in Rift Valley as ODM vows to return to the streets.

    Post-poll violence has so far
    killed an estimated 650 people [AFP]

    On Friday, Raila Odinga, the keader of the ODM and defeated presidential candidate, had said his party would take its fight off the streets and use other channels, including talks with African leaders and economic boycotts.

    Opposition protests on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday provoked a  fierce crackdown by anti-riot and paramilitary police.

    The ODM as well as international and local observers believe the December 27 election was rigged.
     
    The post-poll violence so far has killed an estimated 650 people.
     
    In the Rift Valley in the west of the country Everett Wasig, a police officer, said that "a group of armed warriors attacked a village, leaving five people dead and property destroyed.
     
    "These were refugees in a camp, people thought to have supported [President Mwai] Kibaki," he said, referring to Kipkelion, a camp about 180km northwest of Nairobi, the capital.
     
    Several hundred people had taken refuge at the camp.

    Five other people were earlier killed in the town of Kisumu in the west of the country.
    The ODM dominates the Rift Valley, and most of the 250,000 people who have fled politically-fuelled ethnic clashes came from there.
     
    Police say the Rift Valley accounts for 70 per cent of the deaths since the vote.
     
    Genocide accusations
     
    Both ODM and the government have accused each other of inciting genocide.
     
    Odinga says Kibaki stole the closest-ever election in the east African country.
     
    International observers say the count was so chaotic it was impossible to tell who won, and the government says the ODM also rigged votes.

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    The resulting protests have led Kenya's international financial donors to threaten aid cuts after images of police shooting and beating protesters drew widespread criticism.
     
    The government has rebuffed the threat.
     
    Louis Michel,the European Union's aid commissioner, who met with Kibaki and Odinga, urged both sides to start talks to end their standoff.
     
    "Mass meetings that can lead to aggression which can also lead to powerful responses.
     
    "I urge the parties to look for a solution. Now is the time for ceasefire," he told reporters after meeting with the two leaders.

    Police killings
     
    On Saturday, Hussein Ali, Kenya's police commissioner, said he was sending a team to investigate the police killing of two unarmed protesters in the western city of Kisumu, captured in dramatic TV footage. The investigators' report is due on February 1.
     
    The video shows an officer shooting two young men from a group that had thrown stones, one of whom made faces at him.
     
    After bullets hit the two, the officer walks over and then twice kicks one of the men after he tried to stand up.
     
    Police have said that they only shot rioters and looters, and maintain the protest ban is to prevent more property damage.
     
    Several African leaders have been shuttling between Kibaki and Odinga's camps, and Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, is due to arrive on Tuesday to begin talks.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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