Kenya chooses a president today in a vote overshadowed by fears of a repeat of the ethnic violence that killed more than 1,200 people in the weeks after 2007's election. The vote got off to a violent start when a mob of 200 secessionists armed with machetes ambushed and killed five police officers in the coastal city of Mombasa, the AP reports. Another police officer was killed in a separate attack by the same group; a police official said seven people died in that attack. Officials have warned that criminals plan to disguise themselves as police to disrupt voting in some areas, and there are fears of attacks from Somali militants.
Kenyans are also choosing members of parliament, senators, and 47 county governors, but all eyes are on the presidential contest dominated by Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, the BBC reports. There is a long history of tension between the two candidates' tribes, and Kenyatta is facing a trial at the International Criminal Court for his role in 2007's violence. President Mwai Kibaki, who is not seeking re-election, issued a plea for Kenyans to vote peacefully and for the losers to accept defeat.