Dozens die in Kenyan election violence
At least 125people have been killed in Kenya, according to media reports Monday, amid clashesbetween rioters and police overa disputed presidential election that has plunged one of Africa's most stable nations into chaos.
The death toll—based on police and witness reports of people killed in protests since the election results were announced Sunday — was compiled by Kenyan broadcaster KTN and the Associated Press.
Police fired tear gas and live roundsinto a crowd of tens of thousands of opposition supporters Monday as the protesterstried to move out of Nairobi's vast slums and into the city centre.
Heavily-armed police held running street battles in the largest of the city's slums, which more than one million people call home, said reporter Steve Bloomfieldof the British newspaper The Independent.
"There were scores of paramilitary policestreaming into the slums and attacking people at random," Bloomfield told CBC News in a telephoneinterview from Nairobi.
Alsoon Monday, Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga compared the country's incumbent president, Mwai Kibaki, to a military dictator.
"There is no difference between him [Kibaki] and Idi Amin and other military dictators who have seized power through the barrel of the gun," said Odinga, who encouragedcitizens to join his followers in a"peaceful mass action" toprotestthe disputed outcome.
Policealso cordoned off Nairobi's Uhuru park, where the opposition leader's supporters planned to hold their own swearing-in ceremony.
The Associated Pressalso quoted several unidentifiedpoliceofficersas saying they were under shoot-to-kill orders to quell the protests. A government spokesman denied such an order was given.
Kibaki vowed to step up security across the country to "deal decisively with those who breach the peace."
The BBC reportedthe bodies of at least 43 people — including those of two women and three children — piled up at the local hospital morgue in the western town of Kisumu. Many ofthe bodies hadgunshot wounds, the BBC reporter on the scene said.
Kibaki, 76, was sworn in for another five-year term Sunday immediately afterelections chief Samuel Kivuitu announced theresults ontelevision. He saidKibaki beat Odinga, 62,by 231,728 votes in the closest race in Kenya's history.
Within minutes of the announcement, the slums — home to tens of thousands of opposition supporters — exploded into fresh violence, much of it driven by tribal divisions.
Deadly clashes had already seized the country for two days while Kenyans awaitedthe results of the election.
The bloodshed was 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, multi-party democracy and expressed great disappointment as the process descended into chaos.
"We have been rigged out, we are not going to accept defeat," 24-year-old James Onyango, who lives in the Kibera shantytown, said Monday. "We are ready to die, and we're ready for serious killings."
Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, the chief European Union election monitor, said the Electoral Commission of Kenya "has not succeeded in establishing the credibility of the tallying process to the satisfaction of all parties and candidates."
'A lot of people have been killed, chopped up'
Odinga, a firebrand opposition candidate, led early results and public opinion polls. He rejected the results, which even the elections chiefacknowledged were problematic. In one constituency, voter turnout added up to 115 per cent, and a candidate ran away with ballot papers in another.
Tribal clashes raged in the slums. Kibaki belongs to the Kikuyu tribe, while Odinga is Luo.
Selina Angeyo, 14, a Kibera resident, said police had shot her brother in the stomach, along with another man.
An Associated Press reporter saw another man who had been shot in the head being carried in a blanket. The men around him said they were taking him to the mortuary after he had been shot by police.
"We have coexisted in this slum in peace," said Mercy Akinyi, 20, a resident of Mathare. "Now that the politicians are fighting, does that mean killing each other?"
Kibera resident Teddy Njoroge said by phone, "It is tribal war in my area … a lot of people have been killed, chopped up."
With files from the Associated Press