Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Today’s headlines – 1/29/2008

Friends: Please check the international news links on the right sidebar frequently. The situation is changing rapidly and I will be unable to update this blog to keep pace with events.

Kenya: ODM's Embakasi MP Shot Dead

The Nation (Nairobi)
29 January 2008Posted to the web 29 January 2008
Embakasi MP Mugabe Were of the Orange Democratic Movement has been shot dead in cold blood. Police and witnesses said that the MP arrived at his Woodley Estate home shortly after midnight and was shot as he waited for his gate to be opened.
Full story from AllAfrica

Kenya: ODM MP Killed as Violence Escalates

The East African Standard (Nairobi)
29 January 2008Posted to the web 29 January 2008
James RatemoNairobi
Nairobi's Kibera estate erupted into chaos as reports of the murder of Embakasi MP, Mr Melitus Mugabe Were reached residents.
This came just hours after the Orange Democratic Movement's MP was shot dead at his Nairobi home at 12:30 am on Tuesday.
His supporters took to the streets, lit born fires and engaged police in running battles.
Angry mourners assembled at the MP's Woodley home but were at one point dispersed when anti-riot police launched tear gas canisters in the compound.
According to a witness, Mr Were was alone in his car when he was shot dead by unknown people.
He was waiting for the watchman to open the gate when two people pulled him from his car and shot him.
He was pronounced dead at the Nairobi hospital where his family had rushed him.
Opposition supporters shout at police officers outside the home of slain Embakasi MP, Mr Mugabe Were, in Nairobi. Picture by AP.
Full story from AllAfrica

Opposition Politician Is Killed in Kenya

Published: January 30, 2008
NAIROBI, Kenya — Mugabe Were, a freshman parliamentarian, could have been one of the keys to unlocking Kenya’s crisis but on Tuesday he was shot dead in his driveway.
Mr. Were, 39, was an opposition politician who had resisted his party’s often belligerent talk. He had married a woman of another ethnic group, built a footbridge in a slum with his own money and sponsored teenage mothers to go to college. As Kenya slid into chaos this past month after a disputed election, he shuttled between leaders of different ethnic groups and was actually organizing a peace march the night before he died.
“Whoever did this,” said Elizabeth Mwangi, a friend, “has killed the dreams of many.”
The details of his death are still sketchy, but the killing appears not to have been a robbery but an intended hit.
The news of his killing spread fast and violently, with opposition supporters rioting across Nairobi, the capital, intensifying the clashes of the past weeks.
In the widespread troubles that have erupted in the country since the election in December, Kenyans are now literally ripping their country apart, uprooting miles of railroad tracks, chopping down telephone poles, burning government offices and looting schools.
Militias from opposing ethnic groups are battling in several towns and Kenyan army helicopters fired rubber bullets at crowds on Tuesday to disperse them. There have been reports of forced circumcisions and beheadings.
The economy is paralyzed, more than 800 people have been killed and many Kenyans fear their country is tumbling toward disaster.
Full story from NY Times

Annan calls for end to violent 'downward spiral' in Kenya
Story Highlights
Clashes in Nairobi after killing of MP that was condemned by opposition
Raila Odinga said he suspected "the foul hands of our adversaries" in killing
Were's party has accused Kibaki of rigging the December 27 vote
Government says 650 killed in violence; Opposition says 1,000 have died
NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan Tuesday called on Kenya's government to "take extraordinary measures" to protect the country's civilians from ethnic violence that has killed hundreds over the past month.
"Kenya, which has long been a stable and peaceful country, today is in turmoil with innocent men, women and children being hounded and killed," Annan told Kenya's National Assembly before heading into talks with Kenya's president and the country's main opposition leader.
The former U.N. head speech came amid clashes in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Tuesday, hours after the killing of a lawmaker that was condemned by the leader of the opposition as politically motivated.
About 100 supporters also gathered in Kisumu, the third-largest city in Kenya, in a show of anger over the killing of Mugabe Were, prompting police to fire tear gar and bullets to disperse them, the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Kisumu, in western Kenya, is a stronghold of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) that has accused President Mwai Kibaki of rigging the December 27 vote to win re-election.
Raila Odinga said he suspected "the foul hands of our adversaries" in the shooting death of the ODM member of parliament, according to The Associated Press.
During his assembly address, Annan called on Kenya's leaders to stop the "downward spiral into chaos that is threatening this beautiful country." "There is only one Kenya, we all have multiple identifies, but I hope you all see yourself as Kenyans first," Annan said. "(We) must stress our common humanity, and uphold respect for human rights and the dignity of others."
Shortly before Annan's statement, the National Assembly held a moment of silence for Were.
While police say his death was not politically motivated, it added to the already volatile protests that began after last month's disputed election.
Within hours, rival ethnic gangs clashed in Nairobi's Kibera slum, near where Were was shot dead in his car, according to Reuters.com. Three deaths were reported Tuesday, opposition officials told CNN, but it was unclear if they were linked to the killing.
Full story from CNN


Annan push to broker Kenya peace

Former UN chief Kofi Annan has begun a new push to broker a deal between the Kenyan government and opposition, in attempts to end spiralling violence.
Mr Annan opened talks flanked by President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, who says Mr Kibaki stole victory in December's polls.
Mr Annan will present the leaders with a "route-map" for talks, which the BBC's Adam Mynott says may last weeks.
The talks came as the death of an opposition MP sparked fresh violence.
At least four people died as mobs torched houses in a slum in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, after Mugabe Were, from beaten presidential candidate Raila Odinga's ODM party, apparently died in violence triggered by last month's disputed elections.
Meanwhile towns in the Rift Valley also witnessed outbreaks of inter-ethnic fighting.
Army helicopters fired tear gas and rubber bullets at a mob of ethnic Kikuyus attacking Luo refugees trying to flee the town of Naivasha.
Full story from BBC

Annan launches Kenya mediation as violence spreads
Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:33am EST

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By Nick Tattersall
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan launched formal mediation efforts on Tuesday to end the post-election crisis in Kenya, where the killing of an opposition legislator stoked bloody protests.
About a dozen people were killed in the east African country on Tuesday, bringing the toll to more than 850 since President Mwai Kibaki's disputed December 27 election triggered turmoil that has taken on an ethnic momentum of its own.
Annan, bringing together Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, said he hoped the immediate political issues could be resolved within four weeks and the broader issues underlying the crisis within a year. Odinga says the vote was rigged.
"To the leaders gathered here today I say that the people want you to take charge of the situation and do whatever possible to halt the downward spiral that is threatening this beautiful and prosperous country," Annan said.
South Africa said it would be disastrous for the continent if the mediation fails. Western donors have urged both sides -- who appear far apart -- to take the talks seriously or risk losing aid.
The crisis has cost Kenya its reputation as a bastion of peace in a turbulent region, and dented its previously flourishing economy, east Africa's largest.
Post-election protests have degenerated into cycles of killing between tribes who have never reconciled divisions over land, wealth and power left by British colonial rule and exacerbated by politicians in 44 years of independence.
Kibaki appealed for peace and promised a swift investigation into the "heinous" murder of opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) legislator Melitus Were, who was shot dead while driving up to the gate of his home. Continued...
Full story from Reuters

Kenya: UN Genocide Adviser Urges End to Violence in Country

UN News Service (New York)
28 January 2008Posted to the web 29 January 2008
The United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide today called for an immediate halt to the destructive cycle of attacks and revenge attacks in Kenya, where post-electoral violence continues to claim lives, and announced plans to dispatch a staff member there.
Francis Deng urged national and local leaders on all sides to publicly call for an end to the violence and to statements inciting violence, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New York.
Mr. Deng is dispatching one of his staff members to Kenya as soon as possible to examine the situation, Ms. Okabe added.
Nearly 700 people are believed to have been killed in the violence, which first began a few weeks ago after Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga in December elections. The crisis has also forced some 255,000 to flee their homes.
Noting that political and community leaders may be held accountable for violations of international law committed at their instigation, Mr. Deng urged them to meet their responsibility to protect the civilian population and prevent the violence.
The Special Adviser echoed High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour in calling on the Kenyan Government to abide by its international human rights obligations in responding to demonstrations, including holding police accountable for their actions.
Full story from AllAfrica

Kenyans 'forcibly recruited to fight'

A Kenyan (who wishes to remain anonymous) in the Rift Valley town of Naivasha describes how members of an outlawed sect - the Mungiki - are forcibly recruiting members of their Kikuyu ethnic group to kill non-Kikuyus - allied to the opposition.
Law and order has broken down in the Rift Valley area since the disputed 27 December presidential election. Kenyan politics is polarised and because of this, when a community feels threatened, groupings or gangs arise in their defence.
It is really disgusting. People are being killed and burnt in their houses, even one person was buried alive... buried alive?
And other people are just watching.
There are gangs of Kikuyu coming knocking from door-to-door. But I really don't think they are from Naivasha - people know that Naivasha is usually a safe place, a place where people like peace.
But these people are coming and forcing people here to fight. So that's why they are going house-to-house making sure that if you are a Kikuyu, you have to come out and fight.
If you are not a Kikuyu, they just kill you immediately.
Not long ago they came into our estate and demanded the keys to the gate.
They used a petrol bomb to frighten us, telling us if we don't come out, they'll burn us.
Full story from BBC

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