Calls for Kenya dialogue as poll violence toll rises

Calls for   Kenya dialogue as poll violence toll rises

( AFP ) - World leaders Tuesday put diplomatic pressure on Kenya to open dialogue with the opposition and stem the post-election violence that has claimed some 250 lives in tribal clashes and police raids.

With defeated presidential challenger Raila Odinga sticking to his guns after a vote he says was rigged, and freshly re-elected President Mwai Kibaki vowing to assert his authority, the east African nation was locked in an unprecedented and crippling crisis.

European Union observers weighed in Tuesday saying the disputed presidential election fell short of international standards and called for an independent audit into the results.

Clashes were reported by police and witnesses overnight in most Nairobi slums as well as in several of Odinga's strongholds in western Kenya.

The city of Kisumu , northwest of Nairobi, appeared to be the worst affected, with a mortuary attendant telling AFP that 48 bodies were brought in overnight.

"They brought in 48 bodies, including three children, 44 had fresh bullet wounds, four were hacked with machetes," he said.

Police launched a ham-fisted crack down on looters and rival tribes engaged in running battles in Kisumu , the country's third city and heartland of Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement.

Another 18 people were killed overnight in the nearby town of Eldoret , in violence that has spread to the eastern port of Mombasa and is the worst seen in Kenya's cities since a failed 1982 coup.

Slum areas were overrun by rioters burning down shops belonging to members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe and looting anything from refrigerators to basic goods, which have started running dry since the crisis brought East Africa's largest economy to a standstill.

According to a tally compiled by AFP, 251 people have died in politically related violence since the December 27 general elections.

The 76-year-old Kibaki , who was sworn in less than an hour after the electoral commission declared him the winner on Sunday, has vowed to clamp down on the unrest.

"We have put enough police officers in the specific areas where the incidences of violence have occurred to ensure everyone is secure," he said in a New Year message appealing for "national healing" and reconciliation.

Odinga has rejected Kibaki's victory as a civilian coup and urged his supporters to turn out for an alternative swearing-in ceremony at a rally in Nairobi on Thursday.

Police banned the gathering and warned Odinga , a fiery 62-year-old former political prisoner, that he would face arrest if it went ahead.

Foreign governments warned their nationals to avoid non-essential travel to Kenya, while tour operators called off excursions for tourists already there.

Washington initially congratulated Kibaki on his re-election but the US State Department on Monday withdrew the endorsement of the vote count made 24 hours earlier.

"I'm not offering congratulations to anybody," State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.

Former colony ruler Britain said it was "appalled" by the violence that has engulfed Kenya since its presidential election.

"We're appalled by and condemn the incidents of violence taking place in Kenya, including horrific killings in several Kenyan cities and towns. We call on all political leaders to urge restraint on their followers and avoid any actions that inflame tensions," Foreign Secretary David Miliband said in a statement.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown had been "in touch" with key Kenyan leaders on Monday to stress "reconciliation and unity" in dealing with the situation, the statement added.

UN chief Ban Ki -moon also urged restraint.

The latest violence has rattled a country generally considered as a beacon of democracy and stability in the region, with the threat of lasting tribal tit-for-tat killings now looming and the regime's legitimacy in doubt.

"The situation is very bad in the Rift Valley mainly around Eldoret where it appears to be organised killings. One tribe is targeting another one in a fashion that can rightly be described as ethnic cleansing," said one senior police official on condition of anonymity.

Although the army has not stepped in and Kenya's paramilitary police is believed to have only deployed a fraction of its forces, Kenya entered the New Year in what sometimes resembled a state of emergency.

Streets were deserted when the clock struck midnight and residents of Nairobi's wealthy neighbourhoods rushed to the few supermarkets still open to stock up on sugar and water rather than chocolates and champagne.

England reveals new regional COVID tiers in fight against coronavirus
England reveals new regional COVID tiers in fight against coronavirus
Kazakhstan's exports to Switzerland decrease year-on-year
Kazakhstan's exports to Switzerland decrease year-on-year
Germany's hotspot district to launch COVID-19 mass tests for children
Germany's hotspot district to launch COVID-19 mass tests for children
Loading Bars
England reveals new regional COVID tiers in fight against coronavirus
Azerbaijani gymnasts reach finals of 36th European Championship in Ukraine
Georgia continues to support its citizens amid COVID-19 pandemic
News on return of Azerbaijani soldier captured by Armenians false, relative says
Azerbaijan sends note of protest to France
Ample opportunities for investments to be created in Karabakh – minister
Azerbaijani's negotiations with UAE on renewables nearing completion
Kazakhstan, Mongolia eye signing roadmap for trade, economic co-op
Russia bans import of tomatoes from Uzbekistan’s Fergana region
36th COMCEC session opens under chairmanship of Turkish president (PHOTO)
Uzbek Ministry of Finance publishes draft law on increasing taxes on gasoline, diesel
Russian Gazprombank predicts Azerbaijan's economic recovery in 2021
iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Mini now at Azercell Exclusive shops!
Iran becomes self-sufficient in building oil, gas platforms
Cotton growing in Azerbaijan hits record - agriculture ministry
Italian municipalities adopt documents expressing solidarity with Azerbaijani people
Uzbekistan to grow industrial cannabis in Sardoba district
Azerbaijan detects 3,705 new COVID-19 cases, 1,609 recoveries
Turkmen Ministry of Construction opens tender for equestrian sports complex construction
Azerbaijani, Saudi FMs exchange views on current situation in Karabakh
Uzbekistan reveals data on its ICT sphere enterprises and organizations
Azerbaijan to export persimmons to Slovakia and Czech Republic
Level of religious tolerance in Azerbaijan is much higher than in France - ISESCO ex-director
Kazakhstan's exports to Switzerland decrease year-on-year
Azerbaijani medical insurance agency signs contract with tender-winning IT company
Resolution adopted by French Senate must be canceled – Azerbaijani NGO head
Volume of Turkish textile clothing supplies to Kazakh market surges
Latvian AirBaltic cancels Riga-Tbilisi-Riga flights
Reconnaissance work completed within Baiterek space complex creation in Kazakhstan
Thermal power plant modernization, other projects underway in Kazakhstan's Karaganda
Georgia imposes further restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus
Georgian carrier to launch regular cargo flights from China to Europe
Russia's Rostelecom expects to develop transit routes through Turkmenistan
Average monthly salary in Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan rises
Azerbaijani, Afghan FMs discuss latest situation in region
WB, AIIB to fund rural infrastructure development in Uzbekistan
Azerbaijani, Indonesian FMs stress importance of trilateral ceasefire statement
Austria fully supports Uzbekistan obtaining of EU’s GSP beneficiary status
Turkmenistan's Dashoguz region opens tender for installation work
France not part of Karabakh settlement, but part of problem - Turkish defense minister
Japanese companies to provide technical support for terry production in Uzbekistan
Germany's hotspot district to launch COVID-19 mass tests for children
Yield of citrus fruits in Azerbaijan up
Capital of Kazakh companies operating in Turkey revealed
Iran boosts its pistachio exports
World Economic Forum announces Azerbaijan's road quality score
Share of assets in Azerbaijani banking sector declines
Kazakhstan eyeing amending legislation to support renewable energy dev't
Georgian Hualing Free Industrial Zone plans to finalize deal with 4 new companies
Mortgage lending in Azerbaijan through state line grows manifold
Kazakhstan to launch hundreds of industrial projects before year-end
Azerbaijani ICT company wins tender on purchase of licenses
Central Bank of Azerbaijan discloses data from foreign exchange auction
Employment in Iran's West Azerbaijan Province increases
Buta Airways to Increase the Frequency of Flights Performed to Izmir
Azerbaijan, Hungary discuss possibilities of attracting investors to liberated territories
Georgian Huliang FIZ offering available land plots to potential investors
Azerbaijani NBCO talks about its activities amid coronavirus
Azerbaijan’s carpet producer signs tender contract
Many members of French Senate unaware war in Karabakh ended (VIDEO)
Number of people infected with coronavirus pandemic in Iran exceeds 900,000
Baku Stock Exchange admits local investment company
Uzbekistan eyes to set up local production of various vaccines
France does not deserve Azerbaijan’s confidence – senator
Bahar Azadi gold coin price still falling in Iran
Bank mortgages in Azerbaijan rise
Full text of Azerbaijani parliament’s statement against French Senate’s resolution
Iran's economy remains strong and steady – Iran's president
Turkmenistan to be vital strategic partner, gas supplier to China long-term - Wood Mackenzie
EDB talks Kazakhstan's economy growth forecast, return to pre-COVID levels
Ambassadors of Turkey, Iran to Azerbaijan hold discusses on Karabakh
“I am quite sure that giving a hand to customers in this challenging time will pay off in the future”: interview with Dariusz Kacprzyk, Member of Supervisory Board of AccessBank Azerbaijan
Import of Turkish ready-made clothes by Iran down
Water resources of Azerbaijan’s Kalbajar district to be re-explored
Turkey's export of ready-made clothes to Uzbekistan down
Money supply in Azerbaijan grows - CBA
Lending to banking sector in Azerbaijan up
Turkmenistan raises 10M2020 imports of Turkish ready-made clothes
Uzbek gas chemical company opens tender for insurance services
Precious metal prices in Azerbaijan up
Azerbaijan’s natural gas exports to Turkey down by 8%
German manufactures interested in buying high-quality walnuts in Georgia
New carpet factory opens in Turkmenistan
German company builds float glass plant in Uzbekistan’s Zarafshan city
Iranian oil minister talks about petrochemical facilities launched in Iran
Azerbaijan can't be pressured by adopting some paper piece - parliament's vice speaker
Azerbaijani parliament voices appeal to government due to France
Azerbaijan to implement digitalization of services of local executive authorities
French Senate betrays democratic values - Turkish government
China's import of Turkish cement up
Azerbaijani parliament condemns resolution adopted by French Senate
AP highlights devastation caused by Armenia in Azerbaijan’s Aghdam
Azerbaijan's ADY Express boosts daily volume of cargo handling at Astara terminal
Turkish Foreign Ministry condemns French Senate’s resolution on Karabakh
French Senate's resolution is not binding, says ambassador
Azerbaijani Ministry of Communications developing final strategy of 'Smart City' project
Protesters give statement in front of French embassy in Baku (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Integration of modern solutions contributes to growth of online sales - MiMobile
Georgia eyes to minimize negative impact of global crisis on country's private sector
Int’l standard of energy management system to be introduced at Uzbekneftegaz facilities
All news