January 28, 2008
Violence continues to roil Kenya
What started as protests against a rigged presidential election has escalated into tribal warfare in Kenya with gangs of men armed with machetes and iron bars running unchecked by police through towns and villages killing innocents:
More than 100 people have been killed in the past four days, many of them shot with arrows, burned or hacked with machetes.The violence began when President Mwai Kibaki, a member of the Kikuyu tribe won a disuputed election against Raila Odinga, opposition leader and member of the Luo tribe. It appears most of the violence is directed against the Kikuyu's but that may change. Several Kikuyu militias have sprung up vowing revenge in recent days.
It is some of the worst fighting since a disputed election in December ignited long-simmering tensions that have so far claimed at least 750 lives.
The fighting appeared to be spreading Sunday across the Rift Valley region, a particularly picturesque part of Kenya known more for its game parks and fancy lodges.
The Kenyan government is now threatening to arrest top opposition leaders on suspicion of orchestrating the bloodshed, but opposition leaders are in turn accusing the government of backing criminal gangs.
The army and police so far have proved ineffective at halting the violence. Efforts by former UN General Secretary Kofi Anan to mediate the crisis have also been for naught. And the government's tentative plan to arrest opposition leaders will probably backfire and the violence will escalate.
Only some kind of bargain over the election will stop the violence. And so far, Kibaki has been adamant in not negotiating his victory.