Renewed Kenya clashes claim lives

Gang violence hits western Rift Valley as unrest over presidential vote continues.

    Houses have been burnt and people killed with machetes in the ethnic violence [AFP]
    Violence flare-up
    In nearby Nakuru, the provincial capital, at least 130 people are reported to have died in violence since Thursday night.
    Ethnic violence first flared up in Nakuru on Thursday night between gangs armed with machetes, spears and bows and arrows.
    In video

    Al Jazeera reports from Kenya's Rift Valley region


    Al Jazeera's correspondent Mohammed Adow visited the region on Sunday.
    He said: "What we are witnessing right now is an escalation of violence, even more than the last few weeks and ever since the skirmishes began in Kenya.
    "The government has been using the police to counter the road youths and gangs that have been carrying out the killings.
    "The army was not actually trying to help the police in trying to combat these gangs. The police at the moment seem to be overwhelmed."
    Overnight killings
    Earlier on Sunday, police said that 17 people had been killed overnight - 11 in Nakuru's Manyani slums and six in the nearby trading post of Timboroa.

    "We understand that the police are being totally overwhelmed by gangs of up to 100 people," Yvonne Ndege, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Nairobi, said.


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    Ndege said that army troops were patrolling Nakuru, where a military base is situated.


    She said that the government was cautious about bringing the army further into the conflict for fear of provoking further ethnic violence.


    At least 700 people have been killed and 260,000 have been displaced in Kenya since the disputed presidential election on December 27 provoked rioting and ethnic killings.


    Raila Odinga, the leader of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), who ran against Kibaki in December's election, alleges that the vote was rigged, thus robbing him of the presidency.


    Amid the violence, Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general, met Odinga on Sunday at a hotel in Nairiobi, on the sixth day of his tour of Kenya.


    Salim Lone, Odinga's spokesman, said they were asked to name three negotiators for the talks, which he said he would hopefully start "within a week".
    Rules of engagement


    Lone said they expected Annan to deliver four documents on Sunday night, three outlining terms of reference and rules of engagement and the fourth an agenda for the talks.


    All were drawn up with input from both sides as well as from civil groups.


    Annan met Odinga, right, again on Sunday
    to discuss ways to end the crisis [Reuters]

    Both sides might want changes to the documents, but "at least now they are moving towards something concrete", Lone said.


    On Saturday, Annan said he saw "gross and systematic human rights abuses of fellow citizens", after visits to parts of the Rift Valley.


    However, his effort to end the turmoil has been undermined by the continuing violence. 


    Annan arranged a symbolic first meeting between Kibaki and Odinga on Thursday, but an initial signal that the opposing leaders were willing to talk was later undermined when they returned to their hardline positions.


    Latent ethnic and land disputes have stoked violence between Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe and members of the Luo and Kalenjin ethnic groups, who supported Odinga in the election.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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