Obama phones Kenya's opposition leader

( AP ) - Barack Obama phoned Kenya's opposition leader to express concerns about the ethnically charged election standoff that has killed some 500 people, the opposition chief's spokesman said Tuesday, intensifying the diplomatic pressure from the United States.

Attempts toward a resolution gained momentum Tuesday, with the chairman of the African Union due to arrive and the U.S. Democratic presidential candidate, whose father was Kenyan, calling Raila Odinga, said the opposition leader's spokesman, Salim Lone.

"He called to express grave concern over the election outcome," Lone told The Associated Press, saying Obama also said he planned to call President Mwai Kibaki, whose disputed victory in the Dec. 27 elections led to an eruption of violence across the country.

The Catholic bishop of the town where dozens died when a mob torched a refugee-filled church said Tuesday that the attacks against members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe appeared planned and organized.

Earlier this week, the chief American envoy to Africa won an offer from Kibaki to form a unity government, and Odinga then said he was willing to drop demands that Kibaki resign and was willing to discuss sharing power. On Monday, Kibaki invited Odinga to his official residence for a meeting Friday.

Bishop Cornelius Korir spoke in western Eldoret, scene of the fiery massacre of Kikuyu. Eldoret and surrounding areas have seen an exodus of Kikuyus since. The violence across the country has killed some 500 people.

"The way the attacks were managed seems to me very organized," Korir said as the U.S. envoy, Jendayi Frazer, toured the region Tuesday. "No, it did not seem spontaneous to me ... It seems it was well planned."

He did not elaborate.

Kibaki's government also has charged the attacks were orchestrated, and both sides have traded accusations that the violence amounted to genocide or ethnic cleansing.

Frazer rejected that allegation on Monday.

"We would not agree that what has happened - even the worst of what has happened - has been a genocide," she said.

Frazer, the top American envoy to Africa, says the vote count at the heart of the dispute was tampered with and both sides could have been involved.

"Yes, there was rigging," Frazer told The Associated Press Monday in Nairobi.

"I mean there were problems with the vote counting process." She added: "Both the parties could have rigged."

She said she did not want to blame either Kibaki or Odinga.

Kenya's electoral commission chairman Samuel Kivuiti has himself said he is not sure Kibaki won, though the chairman officially declared Kibaki the winner in the closest presidential election in Kenya's history.

The U.S. intervention appears to be having an effect. Kenya, which is crucial to the United States' war on terrorism, has turned over dozens of people to the U.S. and Ethiopia as suspected terrorists. The country allows American forces to operate from Kenyan bases and conducts joint exercises with U.S. troops in the region.

The U.S. also is a major donor to Kenya, long seen as a stable democracy in a region that includes war-ravaged Somalia and Sudan. Aid amounts to roughly $1 billion a year, said embassy spokesman T.J. Dowling.

Frazer said the violence "hasn't shaken our confidence in Kenya as a regional hub."

The violence has marked some of the darkest times since Kenya's independence from Britain in 1963, with much of the fighting degenerating into riots pitting other tribes against Kibaki's Kikuyu, long dominant in politics and the economy.

An official in neighboring Uganda said 30 fleeing Kenyans were thrown into the border river by Kenyan attackers, and were presumed drowned. Two Ugandan truck drivers carrying the group said they were stopped Saturday at a roadblock mounted by vigilantes who identified the refugees as Kikuyus and threw them into the deep, swift-flowing Kipkaren River, said Himbaza Hashaka, a Ugandan border official. The drivers said none survived, Hashaka said.

A statement Monday from the Ministry of Special Programs put the death toll at 486 with some 255,000 people displaced from their homes. The toll, which did not include the drownings at the border, was compiled by a special committee of humanitarian services set up by the government which extensively toured areas most affected by riots.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for September 18
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for September 18
IRICA shares data on import of COVID-19 vaccine to Iran
IRICA shares data on import of COVID-19 vaccine to Iran
Iran receives batch of COVID-19 vaccine from Austria
Iran receives batch of COVID-19 vaccine from Austria
Loading Bars
Latest
SpaceX capsule with world's first all-civilian orbital crew splashes down off Florida
Indian gov't asks states to analyze COVID-19 situation, strengthen health infrastructure
Abu Dhabi to remove COVID-19 testing requirement at border starting Sep. 19
Facebook says WSJ allegations are 'mischaracterizations,' confer 'false motives'
Information made by Russian Defense Ministry regrettable - Azerbaijani Defense Ministry
EU eyes to expand project on creating 'green technologies' in Azerbaijan
Islamic State claims responsibility for attack on Syrian gas pipeline
Geostat shares data on nominal GDP in Georgia
Security Council voices concern over political strife in Somalia
Italy reports 51 coronavirus deaths on Saturday, 4,578 new cases
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price slightly falling
Another visit of Shusha residents to their hometown organized
Three killed in blasts in Afghan city of Jalalabad
Meeting of Azerbaijani and Russian military seamen held in Baku (PHOTO)
Ukraine intends to purchase textile products from Uzbekistan
Georgia's bean imports decrease
Kazakhstan-Croatia trade down y-o-y
Group of Azerbaijani pilots returns home after partaking in Turkey-held military exercises
Azerbaijan records slight decline in volume of cargo shipments via local ports in 8M2021
Iran's Subsidies Targeting Organization makes payments in agriculture sector
Representatives of Azerbaijani Air Force to take part in Teknofest-2021 festival
Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez reshuffles cabinet after political crisis
Iran to increase area of olive gardens
OIC Ombudsmen Association sums up results of fact-finding mission to Azerbaijani Karabakh (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan's Shusha holding concert within Int'l Music Festival of famous composer Uzeyir Hajibayli (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani First VP Mehriban Aliyeva shares post related to National Music Day on Instagram (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani mortar units continue intensive combat trainings (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 2,042 more COVID-19 cases, 3,224 recoveries
Azerbaijan and Georgia remain not only neighbors, but strategic partners - PM
Armenian military expert confirms use of Iskander missiles by Armenia against Azerbaijan
Uzbekistan Airways Technics opens tender for provision of services for sale of materials
Azerbaijan to promote famous composer Uzeyir Hajibayli's heritage worldwide - minister
Number of transactions on Uzbek stock exchange increases
Russian Navy's Caspian Fleet arrive in Baku port
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for September 18
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Uzbekistan reveals number of vaccinated citizens as of September 18
Iran, Tajikistan to increase trade ties
Turkmenistan considers resuming gas supply to Iran
Azerbaijan's Azermash launches new production line for vehicles
Volume of essential products imported to Iran through ports up
Kazakhstan boosts trade with Romania despite global pandemic
U.S. NTSB to probe fatal Tesla crash in Florida
Uzbekistan's private airline performs first flight to UAE
Azerbaijan and Iran hold discussions in connection with Gorus-Gafan road
Kazakh oil company to purchase pipes through tender
Georgia shares data on COVID-19 cases for September 18
MFA's of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan hold political consultations
Renowned Azerbaijani cultural figures arrive in Shusha
OSCE publishes interim report on local elections in Georgia
Azerbaijan’s Baku Metro opens tender to buy insulating materials
Uzbekneftegaz opens tender to buy equipment for turboexpander units
Kazakhstan's oil, gas company to purchase steel via tender
Weekly review of key developments in Azerbaijan's transport sector
IRICA shares data on import of COVID-19 vaccine to Iran
Azerbaijani oil prices up
Iran, Tajikistan sign several bilateral cooperation documents
Film on renowned Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyli produced in Los Angeles
Russia organizes another charter flight to bring its citizens back from Turkmenistan
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Uzbekistan shares COVID-19 data for September 18
Iranian currency rates for September 18
Iran requires investment for development of joint gas fields - MP
USAID to allocate funds for Georgia to fight COVID-19
Who was behind WB's falsification of data on Azerbaijan in 'Doing Business' reports?
Turkmenistan’s Turkmenbashi oil refineries extends tender for overhaul
Iran receives batch of COVID-19 vaccine from Austria
Monetary conditions in Azerbaijan becoming anti-inflationary - Central Bank
SCO begins Iran's full membership process - MFA
Iran sees decrease in unemployment rate in Tehran
Uzbekneftegaz shares data on weekly oil prices on exchange trading
Gunman convicted in deadly Colorado school shooting gets life without parole
Hydrogen projects to raise demand for water supply via desalination
Oil prices to fall due to rising global oil supply, rather than dwindling demand
Akkuyu NPP construction never stopped for an hour despite pandemic — Rosatom chief
Beijing Stock Exchange specifies investor access thresholds
2,901 more COVID-19 cases reported in Kazakhstan
Georgia shows strong commitment to transitioning to clean energy - GGF
USAID supports citizen engagement in improving infrastructure in Balakan, Gakh and Zagatala (PHOTO/VİDEO)
Argentina's Fernandez reshuffles Cabinet after crisis week
Yemen's gov't complains to UNSC over Houthi attack on Mocha port
U.S. probes possible insider trading at Binance
UN Security Council extends Afghan mission mandate for six months
Oil prices decline amid U.S. dollar strength
G20 meeting on Afghanistan planned for September 22
Algeria's former President Bouteflika dies at 84
Turkey reports 27,692 daily COVID-19 cases
Taliban official discusses plans for fixed govt.
S. Korea shortens list of foreign arrivals subject to 2-week mandatory quarantine
Over 634,000 Afghans displaced by conflicts this year - UN agency
France recalls envoys in U.S, Australia over submarine deal
Russia to boost production of vaccines to 45 mln doses a month
Pentagon says Kabul drone strike killed 10 civilians in 'tragic mistake'
Turkey's chemical exports to Turkmenistan grow in 7M2021
UK removes 8 countries, including Turkey, from red travel list
Report of US Commission on Int'l Religious Freedom is biased - head of Azerbaijani State Committee (PHOTO)
OIC Ombudsmen Association's delegations inspects monument "Maraga-150" in Tartar (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan to resume flights
Turkmenistan, UN talk creation of national database on SDGs
All news