Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Massacre in a Kenyan Church

A man wipes his face in front of the remains of a church where 50 people were burned alive in Eldoret January 1, 2008.

Violence continues to escalate in Kenya:

The violence that has rocked Kenya since its controversial presidential election last week reached a horrific level on Tuesday when 50 people, including women and children, were burned alive in a church in the country's west after they had sought sanctuary there from a mob infuriated over the allegedly stolen vote. The victims in the city of Eldoret were from the Kikuyu tribe, which makes up about 22% of the country and backed President Mwai Kibaki's bid for a second term. Kibaki had claimed victory by a margin of a little over 200,000 after several suspicious moves appeared to erase his rival's huge lead in the count.

Post-election violence has now killed at least 250 and forced some 70,000 people to flee their homes in the days since the vote, which has now been recognized by the European Union and the United States as seriously flawed. His opponent, Raila Odinga, has refused to recognize the results; he has the support of the Luo tribe, which makes up about 13% of the country, as well as several smaller tribes. There are now fears that Kenya, a famous tourist destination with a booming economy, is teetering on almost total collapse, and the possibility of genocidal war between Kikuyus and their allies on one side and the Luo-affiliated tribes, who supported Odinga. "We never expected the savagery to go so far," police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said in Nairobi.

This is in response to an allegedly flawed presidential election:

The tribal violence that erupted across the country in the wake of a disputed general election has now killed more than 300 people in four days, according to Kenya Human Rights Commission and the International Federation for Human Rights. Tens of thousands have left their homes, with many others pouring over the border into Uganda.

The wave of tribal killings erupted during counting that followed a Dec. 27 general election. At one stage on Sunday in this nation of 36 million, Odinga was one million votes in the lead. Election officials in Kibaki's strongholds then disappeared with the ballot boxes, only to reappear with dramatically enhanced tallies for the President, who was promptly declared the winner and sworn in less than an hour later. Kibaki's first act was to ban live TV and radio broadcasts of the resulting unrest. With the U.S., U.K. and Kenya's own Electoral Commission questioning the result, Odinga is demanding that Kabika admit that he lost.

I am suprised not to have heard more about this in the blogosphere. Is everyone so focused on Iowa that they're not aware of what's going on in the rest of the world?

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