Kenya political unrest has led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people.
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'Dozens killed by Kenyan police'
Kenyan police have killed and wounded dozens of protesters, an international human rights group said.
It also warned that the opposition call for mass rallies this week raises concerns of new clashes that could lead to more deaths and injuries.
Human Rights Watch, based in Washington, DC, said observers and even officers have described the police response to demonstrations in Kenya's deadly dispute over presidential election results as an unofficial "shoot to kill" policy.
Police denied the accusations, saying they have "acted strictly within the laws of this country", police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said. "In fact, some of the complaints we are receiving are from property owners that police failed to use all the powers under the laws to protect their property."
The death toll from violence since the December 27 election has risen to 575, Kenya Red Cross Society spokesman Anthony Mwangi said. He said the count, as of Friday, was done in collaboration with the government, and is based on bodies counted at mortuaries and collected from homes and other places that were previously too unsafe to reach.
Kenya's opposition called for protests in 28 locations across the East African country in defiance of a government ban on demonstrations, following the failure of days of international mediation to break a deadlock between President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, who came in second after a tally that foreign observers say was rigged.
The opposition Orange Democratic Movement also urged the international community to impose targeted sanctions against the government of Mr Kibaki, who was hastily declared winner of elections that international observers say had a rigged vote count.
"Kenyan police in several cities have used live ammunition to disperse protesters and disperse looters, killing and wounding dozens," Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
It quoted a source within the police, who was unwilling to be identified, as telling its monitors that "many of us are unhappy with what we are being asked to do. This 'shoot to kill' policy is illegal, and it is not right. We have brothers and sisters, sons and daughters out there."
Even people who did not attend rallies have been shot, the rights group said: Witnesses in Nairobi, the capital, saw unarmed individuals hit by police gunfire on the fringes of protests in Nairobi slums; one woman was hit by stray bullets that penetrated the wall of her home; another unarmed man was shot in the leg; a boy watching a protest from the door of his house was shot in the chest."
Raila not ready for coalition talks with Kibaki
Written By:Irene Muchuma
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
Posted: Sun, Jan 13, 2008
ODM leader Raila Odinga now says he is not ready for negotiations with president Mwai Kibaki over the formation of a coalition government.
Addressing faithfuls at Jesus is Alive Ministry church ministered by MP elect for Starehe, Margaret Wanjiru, Raila asserted that last December's polls were not free and fair and urged Kenyans to uphold patriotism.
This comes a day after President Mwai Kibaki and ODM leader Raila Odinga were put under fresh pressure from both local and international community urging them to come together and end the political standoff that has threatened the country's peace.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon, US envoy for Africa Jandeyi Frazer and local religious leaders separately called upon the leaders to give dialogue a chance, warning that the absence of a negotiated solution would be disastrous.
"The potential for further bloodshed remains high unless the political crisis is quickly resolved," Ban said in a statement.
His predecessor at the UN, Kofi Annan, who is expected in Kenya to take over mediation efforts from Ghanaian President and African Union chairman John Kufuor, also appealed for restraint.
He called on "all Kenyan leaders, government as well as the opposition in the country, to avoid any measures or steps that would further compromise the search for an amicable solution to the country's crisis."
In her statement, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazier said the talks should be held without any preconditions and should come up with solutions that reflect the will of the Kenyan people.
She said both sides must take immediate steps to end violence and ensure respect for the rule of law consistent with respect for human rights including restoration of media freedom and freedom of peaceful assembly.
"The Kenyan people have made clear that the way forward must embrace equitable power-sharing, an end to violence, reconciliation, and agreement on a specific agenda for constitutional and electoral reform," said Frazier
Mediators involved in the peace process have insisted that one of the ways to resolve the current political impasse is by addressing the irregularities witnessed during the presidential vote tallying in the December 27th General Election.
Elsewhere, two Nairobi MPs elect Beth Mugo and Dick Wathika urged Raila to call off his party's planned rallies next week.
They also had an issue with the US Government over post election violence killings that they now term genocide.
Police deny presence of Ugandan forces in Kenya
Written By:Simon Achola
Posted: Sun, Jan 13, 2008
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe has dismissed reports appearing in a section of the media that Ugandan soldiers are in the country for an unspecified mission.
Kiraithe said the country's police force and other law enforcers had the capacity check any post election criminal activities.
Kiraithe said the police force had released telephone lines of various police stations across the country to help wananchi to access reliable information whenever needed.
He said the police force was in the process of piecing together evidence that will help unravel the perpetrators of the criminal activities witnessed across the country since the announcement of the disputed poll results.
The police spokesman reiterated that the planned three day mass action planned by ODM will not be tolerated.