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29 February 2024

At least 16 killed in two days of Kenya clashes: police

By Agencies

At least 16 people were killed in two days of clashes with Kenyan opposition protesters, police said on Friday, vowing to crack down on the third and final day of demonstrations against disputed elections.

A police official said one man had been slashed to death by machetes in fighting in the capital's Mathare slum overnight, and a police commander in western Kenya said another man had died in tribal fighting, also overnight, updating a previous toll of 14.

A police commander in the town of Narok said Maasai youths had killed the member of President Mwai Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe with a poisoned arrow in clashes over Kibaki's disputed re-election almost three weeks ago.

"It is unfortunate that he met his death when he strayed into a group of armed Maasai youths who were targeting members of the community in the area," said area police commander Patrick Wambani.

Officials said 31 warriors were wounded, some seriously, in clashes in the area overnight.

A police commander earlier doubled the toll to 14 from two days of clashes during rallies called by opposition leader Raila Odinga to protest Kibaki's contested re-election.

Seven new deaths were reported in the western opposition stronghold of Kisumu and the capital Nairobi, mainly in volatile slums where hundreds of protesters clashed with police, he said.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said on Friday that security forces would not allow opposition supporters on the streets for a last day of demonstrations.

"Police will be steadfast in protecting lives and property," Kiraithe told AFP.

In the past two days, police have fired live ammunition and tear gas and beat protesters with sticks.

No major incidents had been reported in Nairobi by noon (9.00am GMT) but police fired teargas on some 200 demonstrators who had gathered in Kisumu, an AFP correspondent reported.

Prior to the nationwide protests that began Wednesday, more than 700 people died in tribal killings and clashes with police and around 260,000 others were displaced after the widely disputed December 27 election. (AFP)