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Kenyan police say they have shoot to kill orders, violence continues after vote rigging charge

Kenyan police say they have shoot to kill orders, violence continues after vote rigging charge

Police battled thousands of opposition supporters across Kenya who charge President Mwai Kibaki stole his way to re-election, and several officers said Monday they had orders to shoot to kill to quell the violence that has killed at least 94 people.
The violence started in the days after Thursday's vote, stretching from Nairobi's shantytowns, which are home to tens of thousands of opposition supporters, to the Rift Valley and the tourist-friendly coast.
"We have been rigged out, we are not going to accept defeat," 24-year-old James Onyango, who lives in Nairobi's Kibera slum, said Monday. "We are ready to die and we're ready for serious killings."
An Associated Press reporter saw a man who had been shot in the head being carried in a blanket, and the men around him said he had been shot by police. Police were not immediately available for comment.
Another Kibera resident, 14-year-old Selina Angeyo, said police had shot her brother and another man in the stomach. Shortly after she spoke to reporters she was arrested and taken away in a marked police vehicle, crying.
Teams of riot police fired shots into the air and tear gas into homes and businesses; in one home, a woman and her four young children ran out, retching.
"We were just hiding from the shots," said Dorothy Nyangasi, frantically pouring water over the eyes of her 6-month-old old son Daniel.
Other residents said that they had not been able to find food since shops closed for elections on Thursday and trouble began over the delayed vote-counting. A woman shouted "hungry! hungry!" at passing journalists.
The violence has killed at least 94 people since Saturday across the country, police and witnesses said, although the tally was likely far higher. Three police officers told The Associated Press independently that they had been ordered to shoot to kill to stop the rioters.
"Yes there is a shoot to kill order," said one police official, who like the others asked that his name not be used because he is not authorized to speak to the media. A government spokesman denied such an order was given.
Raila Odinga, the fiery opposition leader who came in second according to the official results, compared Kibaki to a military dictator who "seized power through the barrel of the gun."
Odinga, who had been leading early results and public opinion polls, also postponed a planned rally Monday in Nairobi's Uhuru Park _ where protesters seeking multiparty democracy used to gather in the early 1990s. Police had warned the opposition not to hold the rally. Odinga instead called on 1 million people to gather Thursday.
"We are calling for mass action," said Odinga, who had been leading early results and public opinion polls. "We will inform police of the march. We will march wearing black arm bands because we are mourning."
The United States said Monday it was concerned over "serious problems" during the counting of votes.
Those alleging vote tampering may pursue legal remedies and should be able, consistent with respect for freedom of speech, to make their case publicly. We call on the judiciary to play its role expeditiously," the statement from the U.S. embassy in Kenya said.
Kibaki, 76, was sworn in almost immediately after the results were announced. Within minutes, the slums exploded into fresh violence.
In the coastal city of Mombasa, protesters looted shops shouting "No Raila, No Peace!"
Suspicions over rigging were fueled by the fact that the opposition took most of the parliamentary seats in Thursday's vote, but Kibaki still won the election.
The bloodshed is a stunning turn of events in one of the most developed countries in Africa, with a booming tourism industry and one of the continent's highest growth rates. Many observers saw the campaign as the greatest test yet of this young, multiparty democracy and expressed great disappointment as the process descended into chaos.
Kibaki's supporters say he has turned Kenya's economy into an east African powerhouse, with an average growth rate of 5 percent. He won by a landslide in 2002, ending 24 years in power by the notoriously corrupt Daniel arap Moi. But Kibaki's anti-graft campaign has largely been seen as a failure, and the country still struggles with tribalism and poverty.
The election violence had a disturbing tribal undertone in the slums, where youths shouted ethnic slurs. Kibaki, from the Kikuyu tribe, has been accused of maintaining the tribal patronage system of the Moi years. Odinga is a Luo, another major tribe.
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Associated Press writers Elizabeth A. Kennedy and Tom Maliti contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-02-28 18:37 GMT+08:00