Thursday, February 07, 2008


Kenya Opposition Says Government Is Arming Tribal Gangs - AFP

NAIROBI (AFP)--Kenya's opposition Thursday accused the government of purchasing firearms to equip tribal gangs involved in ethnic cleansing.

"The Kibaki administration continues to use taxpayers' money to purchase firearms for PNU militia," Orange Democratic Movement, or ODM, Secretary General Anyang Nyongo said at a press conference.

He also accused President Mwai Kibaki's Party of National Unity, or PNU, of " raiding official armories" to arm pro-government militia, including the Mungiki.

"These militias are then unleashed to kill innocent Kenyans protesting the flawed presidential elections," Nyongo said.

ODM leader Raila Odinga charges Kibaki robbed him of victory in the Dec. 27 poll. The dispute ignited a wave of nationwide violence that has killed more than 1,000 people and displaced 300,000.

Political protests quickly turned into bitter clashes between rival ethnic groups, pitting notably Odinga's Luo and allied tribes against the dominant Kikuyu tribe of the president.

The ODM issued a statement charging the government had ordered firearms from a Chinese company and produced facsimiles of an exchange of letters between the purported dealer and Kenya's provincial administration.

The government dismissed the accusations and charged the opposition was seeking to undermine mediation efforts currently led by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan.

"These accusations are preposterous," government spokesman Alfred Mutua told AFP. "These accusations are not helping the talks, they are undermining dialogue.

"The opposition is reacting this way because they know some of their leaders are involved in ethnic cleansing and the truth is starting to come out," he said.

Both sides have exchanged accusations of acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing since the violence erupted, mainly in western Kenya.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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