Monday, December 31, 2007


By Noel Mwakugu - BBC News, Kisumu.

Police were deployed to deal with protests at the weekend. Outside the mortuary in the Nyanza Provincial Hospital, to the west of the city of Kisumu, a small angry crowd had gathered on Monday morning.
They had come after hearing that dozens of bodies had been taken there by police overnight and in the early morning.
Inside the main room in the mortuary, I counted 43 bodies - mostly young men, two women and three children.
They had been brought in after a night of violence, blamed on the disputed presidential election.
Mortuary attendants were quietly moving among the bodies, which had been laid on the floor in a single row.
None of them had been covered - some of the men were topless, others were naked.

One man said that police had fired indiscriminately, even after protesters had started running away All of the bodies had sustained at least one gunshot wound, in the legs, chest, stomach and back. One man had been hit by a bullet in the head.
A woman had been laid next to a child, presumably her daughter.
Outside, I spoke to one man who had witnessed their deaths. He said that police had fired indiscriminately, even after protesters had started running away. The woman and her daughter were both hit by the bullets.
Police chief Grace Kahindi said she had no knowledge of any deaths.

There are fears that news of all of the shootings might spark more anger in the city and its suburbs.
The streets of Kisumu - Kenya's third largest city and a stronghold of opposition leader Raila Odinga - are almost deserted. Police in full riot gear are patrolling in their vehicles.
Shops and business remain closed and the water supply to the city has been cut. Many people have moved out to the suburbs.
Following last night's sporadic shooting, barricades built from boulders, trees and tyres have been built across the roads leading to the suburbs.
Small groups of young men are keeping watch for the riot police.
The mood is sombre, mixed with anger.
One man told me that peopled wanted to know why the government was killing them for demanding their rights.



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