Monday, December 31, 2007

124 dead in Election riots... other sources place it as high as 500

Over 124 people have been killed across Kenya in violence blamed on the disputed presidential election. Opposition supporters fought with police a day after President Mwai Kibaki assumed power in elections marred by violence and accusations of vote-rigging. BBC reported that at a mortuary in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu, their reporter saw 43 bodies with gunshot wounds. A witness said police had shot protesters. There are running battles in Matahre and Kibera, and violence was reported in Mombasa.

The streets of Nairobi were almost deserted as the government deployed heavily armed riot police against opposition supporters, some of whom said they would risk death to protest what they called a stolen election. "We have been rigged out, we are not going to accept defeat," 24-year-old James Onyango, a resident of Kibera, told The Associated Press. "We are ready to die and we're ready for serious killings."

KBC, the state television, reported that at least 124 people have been killed in violence connected to the election result. Independent sources say the figure could be as high as 500, but there is no way of telling because Kenya has now degenerated into a police state with a virtual blackout of news, and a ban on live broadcasts, including news bulletins. In Kisumu, at least 19 people were shot dead by police, according to the Daily Nation. Other media reports put the figure much higher, claiming upwards of 50 had been killed overnight in the city.

Several police officers who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said they were ordered to shoot to kill to halt the violence. Meanwhile, Raila has called for a million-strong rally by supporters in Nairobi on Thursday. "We are calling our people to conduct themselves constitutionally and we are therefore going to call for mass action countrywide, peaceful mass action, peaceful demonstrations," he said.

Those killed in Kisumu include two women and three children.

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