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Kenya, backlash, the road to civil war

Kenya: 14 Killed And Thousands Flee As Violence Spreads to Naivasha

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The Nation (Nairobi)

28 January 2008
Posted to the web 28 January 2008

Nairobi

At least 14 people were killed, 10 of them burnt after their house was set ablaze as violence erupted in Naivasha Town Sunday.

The burnt victims had locked themselves inside the house after running away from a gang of youths, which was armed with machetes.

The gangs, believed to be from Central Province, set the house on fire after dousing it with petrol.

According to a witness, the victims had initially attempted to flee to Naivasha Police Station after word went round that they would be attacked.

The arson attack happened at around 10am in Kabati estate. The fire also burnt 10 other houses in the residential block.

Three other people were stoned to death while several others sustained deep cuts after being attacked by groups of youths.

The death toll from the Nakuru and Naivasha killings in the last four days rose to 83.

The gangs, armed with pangas (machetes) and rungus (clubs), erected roadblocks on the Nairobi-Naivasha highway.

At one of the roadblocks, a man believed to be from Nyanza Province was hacked to death after being flushed out of an Akamba bus bound for western Kenya.

The youths inspected all vehicles at the barricades and attacked those who could not speak their mother tongue.

Police appeared overwhelmed and the military was deployed to restore order.

At around noon, entry into Naivasha Town was completely cut off after the youths blocked a two-kilometre stretch.

Looted chemists

The gangs also broke into two chemists at the town centre and looted the stocks and also burnt medicines worth thousands of shillings.

Medical officers at Naivasha District Hospital said the majority of patients admitted there had deep cuts.

In Nakuru, Red Cross officials said more than 2,000 had fled Free Area and Kiratina estates alone.

Consequently, travel between Nairobi and western parts of the country was cut off as most transport operators suspended operations.

In Naivasha Town, the gangs went from house to house slashing out people from western Kenya and burning their houses.

The attacks spread as mediator Kofi Annan said he had given both sides in Kenya’s growing crisis a roadmap to peace. Separately, ODM leaders accused the Government of using the outlawed Mungiki sect members to escalate the crisis.

In Nakuru, fleeing residents sought refuge in churches, police stations and Afraha stadium.

The Nation team visited the affected areas which included Mwariki, Kaptembwa and Gilanis estates where residents were fleeing to safer grounds.

Panicky residents

In other estates like Pangani, Racetrack, Free Hold and Lake View, panicky residents stayed outside their houses.

Two Kenya Army helicopters monitored the situation from the air for the better part of Sunday.

Patrolling area

Residents complained that police officers patrolling the area were doing little to contain the attacks.

They said some of the police officers were disarming one group and leaving another group to roam the area and cause destruction.

There were no public transport vehicles to town while most of the shops were closed. Churches in the affected areas recorded low turnout as most worshippers kept away.

Relevant Links

East Africa
Conflict, Peace and Security
Kenya

And as residents were fleeing, some of the police and Kenya Wildlife Service vehicles were evacuating their staff and relatives in Racetrack, Langa Langa and Mwariki estates.

At the Kaptembwa, there was a heavy presence of GSU men who kept vigil as fleeing residents thronged the nearby Holy Cross Catholic Church.

At the church, the entire compound was full of displaced persons mainly from Kaptembwa and Gilanis estates.

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About SG

Secretary general of Chama Cha Mwananchi. This blog www.chamachamwananchi.wordpress.com, is based in Sweden.

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