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Kenya opposition says 1,000 dead in post-poll violence

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Kenya opposition says 1,000 dead in post-poll violence


There were close to 1,000 people dead, according to the Kenyan opposition after more than a week of violence following a disputed presidential election.

Earlier the government said the death toll had risen to just under 500.

With African Union chairman John Kufor apparently ready to begin mediation on Wednesday, opposition leader Raila Odinga called off protests planned for the coming days.

He said: “The mediation process is about to start. We have consulted and resolved that the public rallies that we’ve called for tomorrow can wait. They are put off until further notice.”

However a government spokesman rejected the notion that Kufor will be mediating between the two sides, saying instead he was coming as a colleague to discuss issues.

President Mwai Kibaki has invited his rival for talks on Friday, aimed at ending the political crisis. Last week he offered to form a so-called government of national unity but Odinga, who claims Kibaki stole the election, said he must step down.

Around a quarter of a million people fled their homes in the fighting between rival political supporters, ethnic groups and the police.

Some help is now trickling through but tens of thousands of people remain hungry and homeless, with the poor worst hit.

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