Fresh unrest mars Kenya peace deal

Dozens killed in fresh violence despite feuding leaders agreeing to a peace plan.

    Clashes between gangs from rival tribes broke out on the road between the towns of Kisii and Kericho [AFP]

    "The pastor's a Kikuyu, the plot belongs to a Kikuyu. Maybe that has something to do with it."

    The violence following the December 27 presidential election has seen the Kikuyu of Mwai Kibaki, the president, clashing with the Luo tribe of Raila Odinga, the opposition leader.

    Rift Valley clashes

    Clashes between gangs representing the Kisii and Kalenjin tribes broke out on the road between the Rift Valley towns of Kisii and Kericho, witnesses said.

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    The violence was said to be in response to the shooting dead of David Kimutai Too, an opposition politician and member of the Kalenjin tribe.

    Police said Too's killing appeared to be a "crime of passion," but the opposition say his death, and that of Melitus Mugabe Were, another MP, were political assassinations.

    "The situation down there is extremely tense. Clashes were reported yesterday. There are two communities fighting each other," Anthony Mwangi, Red Cross spokesman, said.

    Victims were either hacked to death or shot with poisoned arrows, witnesses said.

    Police stations were targeted in three western towns, and in Too's home village a policeman was killed among a mob of about 3,000 men armed with bows and arrows, spears, clubs and machetes.

    On Friday, Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general who is leading the mediation efforts, said a four-point peace plan had been agreed that would first "take immediate action to stop the violence and restore fundamental rights and liberties". 

    'Doom' predicted

    Kenya's newspapers on Saturday warned of grave consequences if the peace process did not bring a quick end to the fighting. 

    "If Annan's talks fail, we shall be doomed," the Standard newspaper said in an editorial.

     

    "The ongoing talks remain the only hope of ending the bloodletting."

    However, Yvonne Ndege in Nairobi said that Kenyans were breathing a sigh of relief after the apparent progress.

    "The former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan appears to be making some headway with representatives of the government and the opposition Orange Democratic Movement," she said.

    The Saturday Nation said the African Union, currently holding a summit in Addis Ababa, was duty-bound the save country which it described as "on a verge of a civil war".

    "The union, which is long accused of being a toothless bulldog, is confronted with two options: To engage in usual monologue as Kenya burns or take decisive steps to prevent it from sliding into the abyss," it said.

    The chaos in Kenya has loomed large over the three-day summit and fuelled concerns of unrest spreading in eastern Africa.

    Jean Ping, chairman-elect of the AU commission, the body's main executive arm, said: "We want to act, that's for sure. In Kenya, there is already Kofi Annan for a mediation chosen by [outgoing AU chairman John] Kufuor. This mediation is at work."

     
    About 1,000 people have been killed in the violence and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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