Nine shot dead by police in fresh Kenyan clashes

KENYA’S rival factions yesterday began tackling the thorniest issues in negotiations to end the bloodshed sparked by disputed elections that have claimed more than 1,000 lives.

Fresh violence in western Kenya left 12 dead, nine of whom were shot by police cracking down on gangs of youths who have attacked houses and other property, police sources said.

Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan warned tough bargaining lay ahead for the government and the opposition who have been trying to negotiate an end to one of Kenya’s worst crises since independence 44 years ago.

“Today we are tackling the political issues and the controversial elections. I hope we move as expeditiously as possible because we have no time,” said Mr Annan, who is leading the talks.

The Red Cross said the death toll from the violence had surpassed 1,000 and 300,000 had been displaced since the December vote that handed victory to President Mwai Kibaki.

Of the nine shot dead by police, five were killed while trying to set fire to a house belonging to a senior government official in Nyanza province bordering the Rift Valley, a police source said.

Two others were killed by police when they tried to burn down a restaurant in the same area, which has been the epicentre of the violence, a police source said.

“Officers are looking for youths who have been torching houses,” said the police source.

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