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Brutal slayings continue

More Kikuyus are stoned, slashed and burned to death in Kenya.

Associated Press
Published January 30, 2008


NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenya, once a leader in the region, is following neighbors like Somalia down a path of disintegration, with no solution in sight as burning slums and thousands fleeing in fear alter the nation's ethnic map - perhaps forever.

Police in helicopters on Tuesday fired to turn back mobs. Gunmen killed opposition legislator Mugabe Were, and slums where a tense peace had held for days exploded with machete-wielding gangs setting fire to homes and businesses owned by President Mwai Kibaki's Kikuyu people.

Sabat Abdullah, a slum resident, said a gang dragged a Kikuyu doctor from his clinic "and then cut and cut until his head was off."

The international community is pressuring Kibaki and his chief rival Raila Odinga - who is a member of the Luo tribe - to share power to end the crisis over the disputed presidential election.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is negotiating, but says it will take a year just to settle on a plan for resolving the deep-rooted problems that caused anger over the election to turn to murderous hate between neighbors of decades.

Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate whose father was Kenyan, made a plea for peace Tuesday, saying, "Kenya has come too far to throw away decades of progress in a storm of violence and political unrest.

"We must not look back years from now and wonder how and why things were permitted to go so horribly wrong," Obama said in a statement he read on Capital FM radio.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called the violence "deeply concerning," saying, "We are currently asking everyone to maintain calm."

Political disputes in Kenya often mushroom into ethnic clashes, but never before with the ferocity that has left more than 800 people dead since the Dec. 27 election that the international community and many Kenyans agree had a rigged vote tally.

It was only the second free election in Kenya, which suffered decades under one-party and authoritarian rule.

Kibaki, whose insistence that he is president has incited some of the violence, on Tuesday deplored the fact that some Kenyans "have been incited to hate one another and view each other as enemies."

In the western Rift Valley, a gang of Luos stoned a Kikuyu man, then slashed him with machetes and threw him to burn to death on their roadblock of flaming tires. Police took away the body.

"We didn't waste time, we had to kill him," Stanley Ochieng, 25, told an Associated Press reporter.

In villages around Eldoret, another western town, gangs of young Kalenjins on Tuesday slashed to death four Kikuyus and stoned two others until they died, witnesses said. When a helicopter tried to land to intervene, the youths set grasslands ablaze, the witnesses said.

[Last modified January 30, 2008, 02:20:10]

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