Fifteen killed in Kenya as
politicians thrash out reforms
NAIROBI (AFP) - Fresh ethnic violence claims at least 15 lives in
Kenya's Rift Valley region, police said Monday, while political
rivals discussed their new deal to share power and tackle root
causes of the strife.
"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 Rift Valley's Trans Nzoia area.
Police said attackers, armed with machetes and guns pounced on
their victims -- who recently returned home from displaced
people's camps -- while they slept in a region swept by violence
after a disputed December 27 presidential election.
"It was horrifying. These people were merciless. They burnt people
alive. About 10 houses were razed," said another police officer,
who asked not to be named.
The killings prompted a fresh exodus among families that had
recently returned to homes near the volatile Cherangani and Mount
Elgon area after the ethnic strife was triggered by the election,
"This attack is really scaring people. Instead of people
re-settling, they have again begun fleeing their homes," said
National Security Minister George Saitoti.
Meanwhile attackers overnight razed a school in the volatile Molo
district, police said.
The government and opposition resumed talks in the capital
Nairobi, under a new international mediator, after a weekend break
in marathon talks that led to their accord last week to end share
power and end violence.
Nigerian former foreign minister Oluyemi Adeniji replaced former
UN chief Kofi Annan who left on Sunday, after obtaining the deal
between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Current negotiations focus on reforms to address historical
injustices that entail electoral, institutional, constitutional
and judicial issues, as well as land reforms at the heart of
The agenda includes measures to address poverty, unemployment,
inequity and corruption, with more transparent government.
The rival leaders agreed last Thursday to create a post of a prime
minister and two deputies under the east African country's current
constitution pending a comprehensive constitutional review in 12
Odinga accused Kibaki of rigging the presidential elections and
the ensuing violence left more than 1,500 dead. Odinga is set to
become prime minister once parliament entrenches the deal in the
In an article published in the Daily Nation newspaper, Annan told
Kenyans to hold leaders accountable and urged them to forget the
"I know you will support this agreement, even if some of you might
feel that your party conceded too much. But compromise was key to
success, and this compromise opens the door to a unified,
prosperous and peaceful Kenya," Annan wrote.
"My heart aches especially for you, especially for those who have
lost loved ones. We cannot bring them back. But you can, through
the way you choose to live your lives without them, ensure that
the legacy of their loss is not one of hatred and revenge," the
former UN chief wrote.
"Part of the healing process includes a respect for the rights of
every Kenyan to own property, work and live in any part of the
country," Kibaki told lawmakers, who assured him they would
support the bill to be enshrined in the constitution when the
222-member assembly gathers on Thursday.
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.
On Sunday, Odinga pressed for foreign countries to lift travel
advisories against visiting Kenya, because tourism and agriculture
were also hard hit by the unrest.
"There is no need for anyone to fear coming to our country,
therefore I make a passionate appeal to the countries that issued
travel advisories to the tourists ... to remove those advisories
immediately," he told local media.