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Daily Archives: January 31, 2008

Spate of bombings in Baghdad kills one, wounds 11

Iraq's security forces were hit by a spate of bombings in Baghdad yesterday that killed one policeman and wounded 11 people, including six civilians, security officials said.
Separately, a mortar attack in a residential sector of western Yarmuk neighbourhood wounded three more civilians, the officials said.
Violence has surged in the Iraqi capital after a relative lull, with at least two people killed and 20 wounded in a string of bomb and mortar attacks on Tuesday.
Police said a car bomb on Wednesday morning near Mustansariyah University in north-east Baghdad targeting a police patrol killed one policeman and wounded two others, and also wounded two civilian bystanders.
Three policemen and two civilians, meanwhile, were wounded in a roadside bomb that struck a police patrol in Gadir neighbourhood, in the east of the Iraqi capital.
In a third incident, two bystanders were hurt in a car bombing near an army checkpoint in the centre of Baghdad, a security official said.
Dozens of people have been killed in attacks in Baghdad since the start of the year, despite an improvement in security since Washington boosted its troop numbers in the capital over the past 12 months.

Kenya police get ‘shoot to kill’ order after talks begin

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by Bogonko Bosire*

Kenyan police have been given orders to shoot to kill in a bid to stem weeks of violence, a police commander said yesterday, a day after Kofi Annan launched crisis talks between feuding political leaders.
The orders, issued for the second time since President Mwai Kibaki's contested re-election last month, followed the launch by the former UN chief of a dialogue between Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, who claims he was robbed of the presidency.
They also came amid mounting international condemnation of a spiral of violence in which almost 1,000 people have died and more than a quarter of a million have been displaced.
But Odinga called for them to be cancelled immediately.
"The shoot to kill order is illegal, no matter what the crime," he said in a speech to residents in the opposition stronghold Kibera slum in Nairobi, calling it "a sign of a government that has run amok."
His supporters cheered at his comments but also called for weapons to protect themselves in the volatile shanty town that has seen some of the worst fighting in recent weeks.
A police commander earlier said the orders would cover "those looting property, burning houses, carrying offensive weapons, barricading roads."
Police reported 22 new deaths as political crisis talks began Tuesday, particularly in opposition strongholds in western Kenya's Rift Valley.
Annan said he hoped the immediate political issues could be resolved within four weeks and gave Kenya one year to resolve damage inflicted by a month of chaos.
"We are confident that the issues can be resolved within a year and … that immediate political issues, what we are describing as short-term issues, can be resolved within four weeks, if not shorter," he said.
Both leaders called for peace and committed themselves to dialogue.
Each side has formed a negotiating team of three members, but further details of the talks are as yet unclear.
However, in further mud-slinging, Odinga accused "our adversaries" of having a hand in the killing of an opposition MP in Nairobi on Tuesday.
Odinga has refused to recognise the legitimacy of Kibaki's presidency and his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has pressed for an electoral re-run, but the government has instead pressed for dialogue.
Members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe suffered heavily in the first violence after the December 27 election from members of Odinga's Luo tribe and other ethnic groups, but have since carried out numerous revenge attacks.
On Wednesday, police in the town of Kikuyu, west of Nairobi, fired teargas and live rounds to disperse several hundred Kikuyus buring tires and erecting roadblocks as they tried to drive hundreds of Luos out of a government forestry centre where they live and work.
"We don't want bloodshed but they must go home now. If they don't we will show them what they did to our people in the Rift Valley," said Joseph Uburu Kiiru.
One person died overnight after hundreds of Kalenjins attacked a group of Kikuyu villagers who had returned to collect belongings from homes they had fled in Njoro, a settlement outside the western town of Nakuru, police and residents said.
Meanwhile, soldiers armed with assault rifles and whips patrolled the tense streets of Naivasha, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) northwest of Nairobi, where three died the previous day and military helicopters fired shots to break up clashes.
Several stalls were burned down in the town centre, while some 8,000 displaced Luos sheltered in a police compound where they have been since deadly clashes erupted there several days ago, transforming a tourist town famed for its wildlife.
Thousands of displaced remained in crowded makeshift camps or en route to areas where they sought safety because their ethnic groups were in a majority.
Initial political protests have aroused latent ethnic, economic and land disputes, shattering the relatively-stable east African nation with some of the worst violence since independence in 1963.