News 2008


FBI offers to probe Kenya MP killings: US embassy


NAIROBI (AFP) - The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has offered to probe the killings of two Kenyan opposition lawmakers that sparked fresh rioting after weeks of political unrest, the US embassy said Friday.

The offer was made through the embassy on January 29 after the fatal shooting that morning of the first MP, Melitus Mugabe Were, in the capital Nairobi, said embassy spokesman Thomas Dowling.

"I can confirm that we did put forward the offer after the killing of the first MP," he said.

"But now the offer stands for the two killings," he said after another opposition lawmaker, David Kimutai Too, was shot dead Thursday in the western Kenya town of Eldoret. Police said the second killing, in which a female policewoman was also shot dead, appeared to be a crime of passion.

Dowling said the embassy had not received any response.

Government spokesman Alfred Mutua declined to comment, but said the government welcomed any help to unravel recent killings in the wake of weeks of ethnic clashes and rioting sparked by the disputed reelection of President Mwai Kibaki in December.

"The government of Kenya welcomes any support that will help unravel who was behind the ethnic cleansing that we have witnessed," Mutua told AFP.

Opposition chief Raila Odinga pressed the government to accept the US offer, accusing Kenyan police of incompetence.

"We now want the government to invite the FBI to come and expedite the investigations of the two MPs killed by assassins. The Kenya police have failed because they have already jumped to conclusions," Odinga told reporters.

Members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe suffered heavily in the first wave of post-election violence at the hands of Odinga's Luo tribe and other ethnic groups, but have since carried out numerous revenge attacks.

Odinga earlier said the two MP killings were "part of a plot" to reduce his Orange Democratic Movement's (ODM) majority in parliament.

The ODM secured 99 seats in the legislative elections that coincided with the presidential poll on December 27, making it the largest single party but short of an overall majority. Kibaki's Party of National Unity (PNU) won 43 seats.