Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga has urged international community to intervene in what he has called his country’s “election crisis” as sporadic clashes between police and protesters keep claiming more lives.
Odinga said Sunday that at least 31 people had been killed since he returned from overseas trip on Friday, adding that the situation needed an urgent “international intervention” to stop government from trampling on rights of opposition members.
“This is state-sponsored thuggery,” Odinga said, adding that his country “was being pushed to the precipice”.
The opposition leader, who protested his loss in the August presidential election and then boycotted a rerun last month, said people who had lined up the roads Friday to welcome him home from engagements in the US and Britain were confronted by police and 18 were shot dead.
His remarks also came after residents of a Nairobi slum protested the killing of at least 13 people in an overnight attack by unknown gunmen. Police has put the death toll of the clashes at four, but people attending the mortuary said 13 bodies bearing bullet wounds had been brought in. Police said that five people had been killed in the Friday stampede before Odinga’s arrival. But mortuary records corroborated 18 people were dead.
Tensions remain high in Kenya, a major ally of the West and an economic powerhouse in the Horn of Africa region, since a Supreme Court ruling in September which nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta victory’s in original votes. Civil society activists and a politician are again challenging Kenyatta’s win in October repeat of the election. A decision by the court is expected on Monday as Odinga insists that irregularities that led to the nullification of the first round remained the rerun.