Kenyan Killings 'Planned'

Flyers, arms distribution point to orchestrated violence
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2008 5:38 AM CST
Police officers, left, confront a man during ethnic fighting in the Mathare slum, Nairobi, Kenya, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2008. Renewed ethnic fighting broke out in Nairobi's Mathare slum Sunday, where several...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – As the death toll in Kenya's ongoing ethnic violence continued to mount yesterday, evidence indicates that some of the horrific bloodshed was carefully planned, the New York Times reports. Flyers warned of ethnic killings—now responsible for at least 650 deaths in the past month—even before December's controversial presidential election. Young men were armed by elders, politicians inflamed tensions in speeches, and tribal leaders report holding meetings to plot attacks.

“It wasn’t like people just woke up and started fighting each other,” said a Kenya Human Rights Commission member. “It was organized.” It's not clear if a systemic effort exists to launch a national war and if top leaders have been involved, but some clashes were clearly orchestrated. “You don’t move 10 tons of concrete on your back" to suddenly block roads, said one policeman. “This is a full military operation.”