Former UN Boss Tackling Kenya Crisis

Kofi Annan flying in to mediate as election violence continues
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2008 2:57 AM CST
People run away after police fired tear gas 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...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan will fly to Kenya today to try to mediate the nation's political crisis and stop the violence. He faces a difficult task. Members of President Mwai Kibaki's cabinet are hostile to mediation, and opposition leader Raila Odinga is in no mood to back down. "I'm the rightful elected president. Kibaki stole his way into power," he told Reuters.

Violence triggered by last month's disputed presidential election has killed at least 650 people and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes. The rival sides have been resisting pressure to hold talks, but diplomats hope Annan can broker a deal for power-sharing or a new vote. Several Kenyans died in clashes overnight and there are fears that an opposition demonstration planned for Thursday could lead to yet more bloodshed.