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Helicopters Deployed Against Kenyan Mobs

From those poll watchers at Reuters:


Protesters throw stones at riot police as rival ethnic gangs began fighting in Kibera slums after gunmen killed a Kenyan opposition politician at his home in the early hours in Nairobi January 29, 2008.

Helicopters swoop on Kenyan mob

By David Lewis

NAIVASHA, Kenya (Reuters) – Kenyan military helicopters swooped to break up machete-wielding mobs on Tuesday as the killing of an opposition legislator stoked bloody protests across the east African country.

About a dozen people were killed on Tuesday, bringing the toll to more than 850 since President Mwai Kibaki’s disputed December 27 election triggered violence that has now taken on an ethnic momentum of its own…

Kibaki appealed for peace and promised a swift investigation into the “heinous” murder of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) legislator Melitus Were, who was shot dead while driving up to the gate of his home.

Noting that two bullets went into Were’s eyes, opposition leader Odinga called it “a planned political assassination.” He also warned that Kenya was “drifting into a state of anarchy.” …

Reuters reporters in the lakeside city of Naivasha said two helicopters dive-bombed several times, firing what police said were rubber bullets at a mob of about 600 Kikuyus — Kibaki’s ethnic group — brandishing machetes and clubs at Luos, Odinga’s tribe.

The incident came as police trucks prepared to evacuate about 300 Luo refugees to safety from the baying crowd.

The helicopters drove back that crowd, and also swooped on other parts of Naivasha where mobs were creating mayhem. Police opened fire after one flyover, shooting dead one man.

At Were’s house in a middle-class suburb near Nairobi’s Kibera slum, riot police fired teargas to disperse mourners and supporters, some of whom had taunted officers. Ethnic fighting broke out in Kibera within hours.

A Reuters witness saw seven corpses, some with cuts on the head and neck. One man lay in agony after being forcibly circumcised, before dying.

Unrest also convulsed the Rift Valley, with mobs ransacking homes, burning belongings and threatening people trying to flee Naivasha town, an hour’s drive north of the capital.

A Reuters witness saw a man hacked to death with machetes.

Plumes of smoke rose from different parts, as Kikuyus hunted down Luos, Luhyas and Kalenjins, residents said, vowing revenge for previous killings of members of their community…

About 100 people have died in the last few days in Naivasha and Nakuru, better known for their lakes and wildlife, but now deserted by tourists.

Hotels around Kenya are lying empty. The shilling currency neared a three-year low, and trading on the Nairobi bourse was halted briefly after the index dipped 5 percent.

Protests also rocked the western opposition stronghold town of Kisumu, residents said. Two people were killed by mobs.

About 250,000 people have been displaced by the violence…

Apparently, even Kofi Annan has failed to get things under control.

One man lay in agony after being forcibly circumcised, before dying.

What a world.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, January 29th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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