News 2008


Kenyan police say 15 killed in Rift Valley attack

03. March 2008

NAIROBI (AFP) - At least 15 people were killed and several wounded when raiders attacked overnight a village in Kenya's Rift Valley, which has been widely affected by post-electoral violence, police said Monday.

"A total of 15 people died: six burnt in their houses, six hacked with machetes and three shot dead," a police commander said after the attack that occurred in the western Rift Valley's Trans Nzoia area.

The killings are the first since last Thursday when President Mwai Kibaki signed a power-sharing agreement with opposition leader Raila Odinga, aimed at settling their political dispute, which led to partly ethnic violence that claimed at least 1,500 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands.

Both leaders called for an end to the attacks and revenge killings that had convulsed the country, undermining its reputation as a base of stability in a region blighted by conflicts.

Police said the Trans Nzoia attackers pounced on their victims, who were sleeping overnight and carried out systematic attacks.

"They (attackers) were armed with machetes and guns. They were knocking on houses and ordering people out before they slashed them," said a local police commander.

"It was horrifying. These people (attackers) were merciless. They burnt people alive. Aout 10 houses were razed," said another officer, who asked not to be named.

Area police chief Bernard Muli and District Commissioner Francis Mutie visited the scene of the carnage to co-ordinate security operations, officials said.

The Kenyan violence started after Odinga accused Kibaki of stealing the December 27 presidential elections. International monitors said the poll was marred by widespread irregularities.

The crisis tapped into simmering resentment over land, poverty and the dominance of the Kikuyu, Kibaki's people, in Kenyan politics and business since independence in 1963.

Besides the civilian toll, the crisis also affected the economy, particularly weakening the key tourism and agriculture, which both sides have pledged to rebuild.