By Andrew Wasike
NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) - African Union (AU) Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat has expressed deep concern over the violence that has arisen following public protests in Kenya calling for the lowering of the cost of living.
Faki in a statement from the AU expressed deep concern over the violence that has resulted in the loss of lives, damage to property and the interruption of certain economic activities in Nairobi.
“The Chairperson urges all stakeholders to exercise calm and engage in dialogue to address any differences that may exist in the supreme interest of national unity and reconciliation,” he said.
Faki also reiterated support for the government of President William Ruto, the people of Kenya, and their efforts toward national unity, peace and stability in the country.
- Mosque, church burned down
Al-Aksa mosque and the Presbyterian Church were burnt down on Tuesday morning in Kibera slums, a stronghold for Kenya's opposition.
Police confirmed the incident saying that investigations are being carried out to ascertain those who were involved in the arson.
Witnesses reported seeing flames engulfing the mosque and the church as locals watched helplessly.
According to Muturi Mbogo, the police chief in Kilimani, there were no recorded deaths resulting from the unrest that caused the fires.
Speaking to reporters, religious leaders from both the Christian, Hindu and Muslim communities expressed shock and dismay at the destruction of the mosque and church, and have called for calm and peaceful coexistence between the two communities.
Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims Hassan Ole Nado told reporters: "The Presbyterian Church was razed to the ground by unknown people, the mosque was also set on fire by arsonists, which we condemn unreservedly.”
The religious leaders blamed the loss and destruction on political interests.
“We are calling for dialogue between President William Ruto and the opposition leader Raila Odinga,” Catholic Church Archbishop Martin Kivuva said.
Human rights activists have raised concerns about the rise of politically motivated violence in the country, including police brutality and threats to freedom of expression and assembly.
Two people were killed after being shot by police on Monday during protests, George Rae, the head of the Jaramogi Odinga Hospital, told reporters.
The incident in Kibera follows accusations of sponsored violence, which have been a recurring issue in Kenya's political landscape.
Politicians have been accused of hiring youth groups to cause chaos and violence during political events, including protests and rallies.