Increasingly urgent appeals for calm have so far failed to stop the violence raging across Kenya.
In townships around major towns and cities, rioters continue to vent their fury at last week’s disputed election. This morning, the head of Kenya’s electoral commission admitted he was not sure who won last week, despite having awarded victory to President Mwai Kibaki. It is the supporters of the defeated candidate Raila Odinga who have led most of the rioting, claiming vote-rigging and fraud.
Western Kenya has seen the worst violence. It is the heartland of opposition to President Kibaki, and his tribesmen have become the target. At least 30, some say 100, people were burned alive in a church in Eldoret. Local priests said they were sheltering Kibaki supporters, as vigilante gangs roamed the streets.
Kenya has been seen as a relative haven of stability in East Africa, but tribal tensions have always been there below the surface. Hundreds of people have died, while others have fled to neighbouring countries like Uganda.
President Kibaki’s government this morning accused the opposition of launching a campaign of ethnic cleansing in parts of Kenya.