Fire at Church Kills 50 as Riots in Kenya Rage

Disputed election uncorks seething ethnic tensions

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 1, 2008 12:08 PM CST

(Newser) – A mob set fire to a church filled with people in Kenya today, killing at least 50, according to the Red Cross, most of them members of Mwai Kibaki’s Kikuyu tribe. Chaos has reigned in the country since Kibaki’s disputed election victory, which EU inspectors say lacks credibility. At least 270 have been killed in increasingly ethnic violence, the AP reports.

Kenya has long been one of Africa’s most stable democracies, but ethnic tensions have simmered against the Kikuyu, the nation’s largest and most powerful group. Kibaki has called on his rivals to meet and try to restore calm, but opposition candidate Rail Odinga has refused. “If he announces that he was not elected, then I will talk to him,” he said.

A man admitted with serious burns lies covered in ointment at the Coast General Hospital, in Mombasa, Kenya, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2008. Youths protesting against the outcome of the Dec. 27, 2007 presidential elections set him on fire. Kenyans ventured warily out in search of food on Tuesday after the...
A man admitted with serious burns lies covered in ointment at the Coast General Hospital, in Mombasa, Kenya, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2008. Youths protesting against the outcome of the Dec. 27, 2007 presidential...   (Associated Press)
An armed Kenyan policeman stands as supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga barricade a road leading to city center, Nairobi, Kenya, Monday, Dec. 31, 2007.  (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
An armed Kenyan policeman stands as supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga barricade a road leading to city center, Nairobi, Kenya, Monday, Dec. 31, 2007. (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)   (Associated Press)
Riot police charge members of the opposition, Monday, Dec.31, 2007 during riots in the Kibera slum in Nairobi.   Police battled thousands of opposition supporters across Kenya who charge President Mwai Kibaki stole his way to re-election, and several officers said Monday they had orders to shoot to kill to...
Riot police charge members of the opposition, Monday, Dec.31, 2007 during riots in the Kibera slum in Nairobi. Police battled thousands of opposition supporters across Kenya who charge President Mwai...   (Associated Press)
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