East Africa

24 killed in Kenyan election violence, many after police open fire on opposition protesters

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At least 24 people have been shot by police in violence during Kenya’s disputed election, according to Kenyan human rights observers, including many killed in protests in opposition strongholds after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory late Friday.

The Kenya Red Cross Society said it picked up 93 injured casualties in the violence. MSF Kenya, which has its own ambulances and involves figures not counted by the Red Cross, reported 54 people were treated at its clinics, raising the toll to at least 150 wounded.

Police on Saturday fired live bullets and tear gas on protesters in volatile areas of Nairobi and other parts of the country, provoking anger from opposition supporters and condemnation from human rights activists.

Kenya faced its third successive disputed election after the opposition National Super Alliance claimed its candidate, Raila Odinga, won and that Kenyatta had colluded with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to steal the election.

Shabab in neighboring Somalia and loses around $6 billion a year to corruption, almost a third of its GDP.

Every five years during bitterly contested elections, voters divide largely along ethnic lines over who will gain power, which is often used to hand out jobs and patronage to ethnic allies. In 2007 election violence flared across Kenya, leaving an estimated 1,500 dead, as rival ethnic groups dragged people from their houses and killed them over a disputed result.

Kenya’s massive deployment of riot police in opposition strongholds appears designed to prevent the nation from sliding into a similar conflict. But rights observers said police have used excessive force to quell demonstrations. The Kenyan National Human Rights Commission said 17 of the 24 killed since the Aug. 8 election died in the capital, Nairobi.

In the opposition heartland, loyal supporters look to the party leaders to determine their response to the result. Although the party has called for calm and urged supporters not to put their lives in danger, leaders have also made reference to Kenyans rising up to defend democracy.

Human Rights Watch also reported police using bullets and called for restraint.

“The police should not use tear gas or live ammunition simply because they consider a gathering unlawful,” said Otsieno Namwaya of Human Rights Watch.

Kenya has a history of political violence and forced disappearances, torture and executions by security forces. In the first 10 months of last year, 122 people were killed by security forces, according to Amnesty International. It also used lethal force to disperse demonstrations last year.

Bernard Owino, 34, a barber and opposition supporter living in Kibera, saw police shoot a man and hit and kick a woman. He said another two people were shot and injured by police who entered their houses. He fled when the shooting started but later picked up four spent bullets. He said the protesters were not armed.

“You can’t face live bullets with an empty hand,” he said.

“I don’t like it at all. I don’t know why the government is

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