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Kenya deploys forces to contain violence

Extra security measures come after five killed in protests against court ruling that upheld presidential polls.

Last Modified: 31 Mar 2013 21:38
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Kenya has deployed forces in the capital and the lakeside city of Kisumu to contain the continuing threat of violence after five people were killed in riots, officials said, but the country remained mostly peaceful after a court upheld Uhuru Kenyatta's election as president.

Moses Ombati, the deputy police chief for Nairobi, said on Sunday that rowdy youths in Nairobi's slums were still trying to protest the court's ruling that upheld the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as the country's next president.

"There is tension obviously, but with the deployment of officers we have done we don't anticipate anything," he said.

At least three people rioting in Nairobi's Dandora slum were shot dead by police on Saturday, police said, bringing to five the number of people killed in postelection violence since the court's verdict was given earlier that day.

Ombati said he hoped the presence of armed police would deter illegal protests like those that erupted on Saturday immediately after the court's ruling.

"Our leader has conceded defeat, who are we to take to the streets?"

- Elijah Onyango, Raila Odinga's supporter

Kenyans said the calmer atmosphere this time was in part because of far greater trust in the reformed judiciary that ruled on the disputed vote, and also because former prime minister Raila Odinga was swift to fully accept the verdict despite his disappointment.

"Our leader has conceded defeat, who are we to take to the streets?" said Elijah Onyango, 27, a delivery man in Kisumu.

However, some Odinga supporters reacted angrily to his loss, taking to the streets and engaging the police in running battles.

Two people were killed and five seriously injured in riots in Kisumu, a city in the west of Kenya where there is strong backing for Odinga, said Ole Metito, police chief for Nyanza province.

At least seven rioters are now in police custody for their alleged roles in the Kisumu violence, he said.

"There was chaos in places where people were throwing stones. Now we have officers monitoring the general situation," Metito said.

President for all Kenyans

Kenyatta, who is to be sworn in on April 9, said late on Saturday that he would be a president for all Kenyans and urged them to move past the election and build a nation "at peace with itself".

In a televised address to the nation, Kenyatta thanked Odinga for wishing him well.

"I want to assure all Kenyans ... that my government will work with and serve all Kenyans without any discrimination whatsoever," Kenyatta said.

Odinga said he accepted the verdict even though he regretted that some of the evidence produced by his lawyers had been disregarded.

"The court has now spoken. I wish the president-elect, honourable Uhuru Kenyatta, and his team well," he said.

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The announcement of his defeat in the last elections in 2007, when he ran against the now outgoing president Mwai Kibaki, led to Kenya's worst violence since Independence, with more than 1,100 dead and several hundred thousand forced to flee their homes.

Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto both face trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes against humanity over their alleged role in planning the 2007-2008 post-election violence. Both deny the charges.

Kenyatta, the son of founding president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and country's richest person, will become the second sitting African president to face charges at The Hague.

The White House, Britain, France and the European Commission all congratulated Kenyatta on his victory.

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