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Violent protests mark results of Kenyan election

Violent protests mark results of Kenyan election
24 killed in wake of President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election

By Andrew Wasike and Magdalene Mukami

NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) - A nine-year-old boy was among 24 people killed as opposition supporters protested the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

George Mwangi was killed by a stray bullet in Mathare, a slum area of the capital Nairobi that is a bastion for opposition leader Raila Odinga, on Saturday.

She was watching protests from the fourth floor of her home when she was hit in the chest and died on the spot, an Anadolu Agency correspondent at the scene said.

Across opposition's strongholds such as Mathare and Kawangware in Nairobi and Odinga’s hometown Kisumu, bonfires and blockades were set up in main roads on Friday night following the announcement of Kenyatta’s victory.

Police and military helicopters flew overhead as demonstrators engaged in running battles with police, throwing stones while police used live rounds, tear gas and water cannon in an effort to disperse the protests.

Electricity blackouts struck many parts of the country.

Gunfire could be heard across opposition neighborhoods and by morning three people were dead, according to a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

The officer said the three victims were from a village near Kisumu.

“We are not sure what happened because it was at night,” the officer said. “We have reports that police officers were also killed during the night but I can’t confirm that.”

In Nakuru County, southwest Kenya, three supporters of the ruling Jubilee Party were killed when a vehicle rammed into a celebrating crowd. The vehicle was later torched by the angry mob.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said 24 people had been killed following the results declaration.

- Restraint

“Police are using so much force, unnecessary force, so far they have killed 24 people across the country,” Chairwoman Kagwiria Mbogori told a news conference in Nairobi.

“In Nairobi they have killed 17, one in Homa Bay, two in Kisumu, two in Migori and two in Siaya. Around eight are admitted across the country with gunshot wounds. This should stop.”

Interior Minister Fred Matiangi refused to comment on the deaths but acknowledged that police were using live rounds.

“Those are not peaceful protesters, those who break into people’s homes and burn buses,” he told reporters in Nairobi. “You cannot say police used live bullets on peaceful protesters. Why would we shoot at peaceful protesters.”

Amnesty International called for the killings to be investigated.

“The Kenyan authorities must investigate reports that police shot dead demonstrators protesting against the outcome of the presidential election last night,” Regional Director Muthoni Wanyeki said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch also called for the security forces to use restraint.

“With growing reports of demonstrations and heavy gunfire in some areas, it is important for security forces to work to deescalate -- not escalate -- the violence,” researcher Otsieno Namwaya said.

“The police should not use teargas or live ammunition simply because they consider a gathering unlawful.”

Kenyatta was declared the winner with 54.27 percent of the vote against Odinga’s 44.74 percent. The opposition leader has rejected the results, claiming vote-rigging.

The build-up to the election was marked by concerns for a return of violence that was seen after the disputed 2007 election, which left 1,100 people dead.

source: News Feed
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