Kenya Upheaval Could Reach 'Catastrophic Levels'

As violence continues, UN boss will join predecessor in talks
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 31, 2008 11:29 AM CST
The coffin of Zachariah Kimani Kariithi, of the Kikuyu tribe, is carried to a grave outside Limuru, near Nairobi, Kenya, Thursday Jan. 31 2008. Kariithi was killed by gunfire during post election violence....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Kenya's political turmoil continues to wreak havoc, and it is "threatening to escalate to catastrophic levels," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today. After the killing of another member of Raila Odinga's opposition party yesterday, the country faced renewed violence, Reuters reports. The death toll has reached 850 since late December as political disputes have opened old territorial conflicts.

Ban says he will head to Kenya tomorrow to aid his predecessor, Kofi Annan, in peace talks. But even if order is restored, Kenya’s prospects look bleak, Newsweek reports. Violent protests have deeply wounded the economy. Food costs in the west have ballooned; farmers have fled, leaving a $700 million industry behind; and a manufacturers’ association expects 400,000 jobs to disappear.