Kenyan mediation set to restart Monday as violence rages

Other News Materials 3 February 2008 17:42 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Negotiating teams representing Kenya's rival politicians are set to return to the table Monday after a weekend of bloodshed that left at least 20 people dead and dozens of houses torched in post-election violence that has gripped the nation.

Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan announced Friday a framework for ending the violence within 15 days which both sides agreed to ahead of the suspension of talks for the weekend.

But the relentless ethnic clashes marred any hope of what Annan's mediation may bring, with a mob burning down a church in Eldoret, some 300 kilometres from the capital Nairobi, near where another church was set ablaze last month, killing dozens inside.

No-one was killed in the latest church burning, but President Mwai Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe and ethnic groups loyal to opposition leader Raila Odinga, who charges that December's vote was rigged, continued to battle each other.

In the tea-growing town of Kericho, the western town of Kisii and other areas in the volatile Rift Valley province, men armed with bows and arrows, machetes and stones fought each other as Kenyan leaders' calls for peace fell on deaf ears.

The Red Cross now says 863 people have been killed since the polls - with the number likely higher with the ongoing violence - and more than 300,000 displaced in unrest that has plunged Kenya's reputation as a beacon of stability in a turbulent region into question.

Annan's framework did not stipulate how violence would be eased but said the teams were "off to a good start" with the initial agreement.