Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Today's Headlines - Wed 1/16/2008

Kenyan police fight protesters, 2 dead
Wed 16 Jan 2008, 13:33 GMT

(Updates toll, colour from Nairobi slum, international reaction)

By Guled Mohamed

KISUMU, Kenya, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Kenyan police battled hundreds of opposition protesters on Wednesday, killing two, as the opposition defied a ban on rallies against President Mwai Kibaki's disputed re-election, witnesses said.

From the western opposition stronghold of Kisumu to the coastal city of Mombasa, in the capital Nairobi and the Rift Valley town of Eldoret, police clashed with gangs of youths, some of whom erected roadblocks and burnt tyres.

Police in Kisumu shot in the air and used teargas and batons to disperse a 1,000-strong crowd. Two men were shot dead, witnesses said. A Reuters cameraman saw a corpse in the street, with bullet wounds in the back and side.

In Nairobi, police chased a series of protesters through the central business district, firing teargas and live rounds in the air. The gas seeped into nearby offices.

Three youths were shot in the back of the leg as they tried to run from officers in the sprawling Nairobi slum of Kibera, one of Africa's biggest, a hospital administrator said.

"It was so crowded, a very narrow place. I was trying to escape and I got a bullet in my leg," one of the three, 18-year-old student Oscar Junior, said from his hospital bed.

Many Kenyans and expatriates in the capital stayed at home, shopkeepers boarded windows and traffic was light.

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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Kenya police clash with opposition protesters
Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:09am EST

(Adds details)
By Andrew Cawthorne and Tim Cocks

NAIROBI, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Kenyan police used batons and tear gas to break up protests on Wednesday as the opposition defied a ban on rallies against President Mwai Kibaki's disputed re-election.

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Kenyan Police Clash With Protesters

By MALKHADIR M. MUHUMED – 1 hour ago

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Police fired tear gas and bullets to disperse protesters in several Kenyan cities Wednesday at the start of three days of opposition demonstrations over disputed presidential elections.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga, whose supporters believe he was robbed of the presidency through vote rigging in last month's election, called the protests in 42 locations nationwide, despite a government ban.

Associated Press writers Tom Maliti, Tom Odula, Katharine Houreld and Todd Pitman in Nairobi, Elizabeth A. Kennedy in Eldoret and Katy Pownall in Kisumu contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Kenyan police fire warning shots

BBC News 1/16/2008

(BBC) -- Kenyan police in the western city of Kisumu have fired shots over the heads of protesters at a rally against disputed presidential election results.

Some 300 people were trying to march into the town centre when police opened fire. A BBC reporter there saw two people being carried away.

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Kenyan police shoot protesters
Story Highlights

  • Government troops reportedly shoot three protesters in slum of Kibera
  • Other officers fired tear gas to try to thwart thousands of protesters in Nairobi
  • Opposition leader Raila Odinga called for mass protests on Wednesday
  • Odinga's party won two key votes on Tuesday to gain house speaker positions

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- Government troops fired at people who answered the Kenyan opposition's call for nationwide protests of the outcome of last month's presidential elections on Wednesday.

Police shot three protesters in Kibera, a slum on the outskirts of Nairobi, a witness told CNN, and other officers fired tear gas to try to thwart thousands of protesters.

Officers and paramilitary forces were out in force around Kibera and in other parts of the Kenyan capital.

They also patrolled the western town of Kisumu, in the Rift Valley, where many shops were closed in anticipation of violence.

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Riots as Police Break ODM Protests

The Nation (Nairobi)
NEWS16 January 2008
Posted to the web 16 January 2008 Nairobi

Police have broken demonstrations in Mombasa, Kisumu and Migori as various other towns across the country remained tense following protest rallies called by the Orange Democratic Movement.

Riot police used teargas to disperse protestors in Mombasa who responded to ODM's calls for three days of demonstrations against President Kibaki's disputed re-election.

Reporting by Samwel Kumba, Daniel Otieno, Elisha Otieno and Reuters.

Copyright © 2008 The Nation. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

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Kenya Opposition Plans More Protests

Published: January 16, 2008

NAIROBI, Kenya — (NY Times) Kenya was in partial lockdown mode on Wednesday as opposition supporters pressed ahead with plans to hold protests across the country.

Demonstrators clashed with police in the streets of Mombasa, Kenya's biggest port and a main artery to the rest of East Africa. Witnesses said that hundreds of demonstrators, many of them Muslims, tried to block roundabouts in the city center but that police officers in riot gear chased them away with tear gas.

Previous unrest in Mombasa has seriously disrupted food and fuel supplies, leading several neighboring countries like Uganda and Rwanda to ration gasoline. Many Muslims in Kenya support the opposition because they feel that the Kenyan government, a close American ally, has cracked down harshly on members of their community.

In Nairobi, Kenya's capital, the streets were quiet Wednesday morning. A heavy rain that fell overnight and continued into the morning seemed to dampen spirits and diminish energy for another round of street clashes. Police officers were clumped at strategic intersections across the city, but few demonstrators had gathered before noon. Many businesses were closed, though streets were open and public buses were operating normally.

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As Death Toll Rises, Ban Ki-Moon Calls for Urgent Solution to Crisis

UN News Service (New York)
NEWS11 January 2008
Posted to the web 16 January 2008

With the death toll from Kenya's post-election violence now at 500, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged the country's leaders to quickly resolve the political crisis.

"In the face of the deeply troubling situation in Kenya, the Secretary-General calls once again on the political leadership of Kenya to find - urgently - an acceptable solution through dialogue so that the political crisis is resolved and the country returns to its peaceful and democratic path," Mr. Ban's spokesperson said in a statement.

In addition to those killed, the UN estimates that more than 250,000 Kenyans have been forced to flee their homes since violence erupted in the East African nation following last month's disputed national elections, "the conduct of which prompted serious concerns on the part of national and international observers."

The statement added that it is "worrisome" that much of the violence appears to have been directed at specific communities. "The killings must stop, alleged human rights violations should be investigated and those found responsible for crimes should be held accountable for their actions."

Mr. Ban also expressed continued support for the various efforts being made by regional and international actors to help the Kenyans arrive at a lasting solution. He spoke yesterday to former UN chief Kofi Annan, who is head of a panel of eminent Africans to mediate the crisis in Kenya, as announced by President John Kufuor of Ghana.

Meanwhile, UN agencies are continuing their humanitarian response, along with the Kenya Red Cross Society, national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and faith-based groups.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has expressed particular concern about the increase in gender-based violence, especially sexual and physical assault, in the aftermath of recent events.

"Rape has been occurring and cases have increased following the post-election violence," UNFPA's Florence Gachanja told reporters in Nairobi today, adding that the Nairobi Women's Hospital has reported 56 cases in the last 10 days and cases are increasing every day.

In addition, expectant women are giving birth in the camps set up for internally displaced persons (IDPs). UNFPA has delivered post-rape, clean delivery and midwifery kits and other materials to the Kenya Red Cross for re-distribution in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Nairobi Women's Hospital and other local organizations.

In the Northern Rift Valley and Nairobi's slums, which were both hit by the recent post-election violence, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has delivered some 11,000 family relief kits - containing tarpaulins, blankets, cooking utensils, jerry cans and soap - for some 55,000 IDPs. It has also sent six trucks loaded with water and sanitation supplies and 1,500 HIV treatment units to the town of Eldoret.

The agency is also documenting the voices of children and youth affected by the current crisis. "Allowing children to speak out will help them to come to terms with what has happened to them and start the healing process," UNICEF's Pamela Sittoni said.

"It will also help adults, including parents, guardians and teachers, to understand how the violence and displacement are affecting children, as they try to help the children cope with the situation," she added. UNICEF hopes to partner with the Kenyan media to publish the children's voices in their publications.

Copyright © 2008 UN News Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

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UN Food Aid Reaches Nairobi Slums Hit Hardest By Post-Election Violence

UN News Service (New York)
10 January 2008
Posted to the web 16 January 2008

Tens of thousands of people in the Nairobi slums - some of the largest in Africa - most affected by last week's post-election violence in Kenya began receiving assistance from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today.

Today's distribution, starting in the vast Kibera shantytown and continuing in the three other slums of Mathare, Dandora and Korogocho marks the first time WFP food is being handed out in the slums in a general food distribution.

Distributed by the Kenya Red Cross, the assistance includes cereals provided by the Government of Kenya, and pulses, high energy biscuits, vegetable oil and corn-soya blend given by WFP.

While some 500 families were supposed to receive a one-week ration of food at 12 sites, WFP said thousands had queued up at the sites, which means that a larger number of people would receive smaller amounts of food than the planned ration.

Nairobi's slum dwellers, most of whom depend on casual labour to survive, were not able to work during the unrest that began after President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner in the recent election.

Up to 255,000 people have been displaced - and 350 reportedly killed - during the ensuing violence, which took a particularly heavy toll on people in the slums who struggle to survive on less than $1 a day. Almost 60 per cent of Nairobi's population of 2.75 million live in the city's slums.

Also today, a WFP-chartered helicopter flew from Nairobi to the northern Rift Valley town of Eldoret, helping the agency's assessment teams to locate scattered pockets of displaced people in need of humanitarian aid. The helicopter, which flew into Kenya from Sudan, will also fly UN aid in the coming days to people cut off by violence.

In a related development, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed his strong support for former UN chief Kofi Annan's role in mediating between President Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, as announced by President John Kufuor of Ghana.

Mr. Ban "sees this as a positive development," his spokesperson, Michele Montas, said today.
Clarifying the UN's role in the disputed parliamentary and presidential elections, Ms. Montas noted that the Organization "did not observe the recent Kenyan elections or the tallying of the votes. Thus, the UN could not have pronounced itself on a matter of which it was not involved and has no facts."

The world body provided technical assistance to the electoral process through the UN Development Programme (UNDP), including helping with voter registration and education, supporting the Kenya Human Rights Commission to ensure that no violations occurred during the campaign, and supporting local media to promote balanced reporting.

"The UN did not participate in election monitoring, and no UN staff observed the elections," Ms. Montas added.

Copyright © 2008 UN News Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

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