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Kenyan opposition supporters are spayed with water in Nairobi, Kenya,November 17, 2017.(AP)

Several people were killed on Friday in clashes between the Kenyan police and supporters of the opposition politician Raila Odinga after a disputed contest in which President Uhuru Kenyatta was re-elected, despite reports of voting irregularities.

Kenyan opposition supporters are spayed with water in Nairobi, Kenya,November 17, 2017.(AP)
Kenyan opposition supporters are spayed with water in Nairobi, Kenya,November 17, 2017.(AP)

Kenyan opposition supporters are spayed with water in Nairobi, Kenya,November 17, 2017.(AP)

Several people were killed on Friday in clashes between the Kenyan police and supporters of the opposition politician Raila Odinga after a disputed contest in which President Uhuru Kenyatta was re-elected, despite reports of voting irregularities.

The police fired water cannons and tear gas as Mr. Odinga’s convoy made its way to Upper Hill in central Nairobi where he addressed supporters. The unrest was broadcast on live television. The police denied that they had fired their weapons or killed anyone, despite several reports by witnesses and journalists to the contrary.

Opposition lawmakers had vowed to put at least one million protesters in the streets, but the police warned that they would not allow a rally to welcome Mr. Odinga back from speaking engagements in the United States.

Mr. Kenyatta won the country’s presidential election in August, but the following month, the Supreme Court nullified the election. Mr. Odinga withdrew about two weeks before the second election, on Oct. 26, arguing that the electoral commission could not ensure a free and fair process, and he called on his supporters to boycott the vote. His name nevertheless appeared on the ballot, and he collected more than 73,000 votes, compared with nearly seven million in August.

Mr. Kenyatta’s second win is also being challenged at the Supreme Court, which is expected to make a decision on Monday.

The Associated Press reported that one person had been killed in the clashes, and Agence-France Presse said that one of its reporters saw the bodies of three men who had been shot to death on a road in Muthurwa, a suburb where riot police officers armed with tear gas, water cannons and rifles clashed with stone-throwing protesters.

Reached by The New York Times to comment on the report of three deaths, George Kinoti, a spokesman for the National Police Service, asked for evidence. “If yes, let him or her share with us. It would be very crucial of our investigations.”

There were conflicting reports about whether anyone had fired on the car carrying Mr. Odinga.

“It is absolutely not true,” said Mwenda Njoka, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry. “There was no attempt on his life.”

In a statement posted on Facebook, Mr. Kinoti reiterated that denial, and also denied that the police had killed anyone. He said that “no live fire was used,” just tear gas and water cannons.

He said that “sections of the mobs” accompanying Mr. Odinga’s convoy had “looted property” and that enraged crowds had stoned five people to death after catching them stealing.

“Sadly, these incidents occurred before the police arrived at the various scenes,” Mr. Kinoti said in a statement. “All these incidents are under investigation.”

An opposition lawmaker, Otiende Amollo, told The Associated Press that his car had been shot at by the police.

Human rights advocates have condemned the police, accusing the officers of taking sides in favor of the government and of violating the rule of law and the constitutional guarantee of the right to assembly.

Police have insisted that opposition supporters have committed looting and vandalism and provoked police into action, often by throwing stones.

The nullification of the August election was the first time a court in Africa had overturned a presidential vote. At least 70 people have died in political unrest since then, most of them opposition demonstrators and residents in opposition strongholds shot by the police.

“In the face of this shameful police brutality and serious violations of human rights to life and physical security, the Uhuru Kenyatta government has remained mute and at times cheered the police on and made alarming statements in support of horrifying police actions,” a rights activist, Ndungu Wainaina, told The Associated Press.

Source: The New York Times - By JINA MOORE

 

 

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