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Human rights workers say politicians paying militias in worst of Kenyan violence

ICC Note

According to a report by Kenyan Human Rights Commission, the recent attacks against civilians in Keya including the attack on people who sought refugee in Church, is carried out by Militias who are paid by Kenyan politicians.

2008-01-10 Kenya (PR inside.com) – The price for burning down a home: 500 shillings, or about US$8 (¤5). Double that to get someone hacked to death.

Two leading human rights organization says some of the worst violence in Kenya ‘s deadly disputed presidential election has been perpetrated by paid militias directed by politicians. They cite a long history of orchestrated political violence in Kenya .

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Some of the attacks took on an ugly ethnic twist, with other tribes turning on Kibaki’s Kikuyu people.

But the independent Kenyan Human Rights Commission said there is more to it. And it appears to involve politicians from both sides.«What happened in the Rift Valley was portrayed as some primal irate rising up of (ethnic) communities against each other,» said commission chairwomen Muthoni Wanyeki. «But our investigations indicate it seems to be very organized militia activity … (the violence) very much seems to be directed and well organized.

As an example, she pointed to the torching of a church where hundreds of Kikuyu were sheltering near Eldoret, a western town. Dozens of people burned to death.«One group was watching the church, and then another took over,» Wanyeki said. «We say it’s organized because they are working in groups of 10 to 15 people and in shifts.

She said information that could be used as evidence is being compiled in a report to be published next week and was being given to another body, the state-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, for investigation by appropriate authorities.«Their (militia) training areas have been identified, some of the people from whom they get money have been identified,» she said. «They are being paid 500 per burning and 1,000 per death.

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Government spokesman Alfred Mutua said Kiai’s charge was «preposterous. There is no truth to it.» He accused Kiai of being partisan and said he should produce evidence or stay silent.

Wanyeki said some Mungiki gangsters have been deployed in recent days to the troubled western towns of Eldoret and Kisumu.

The police superintendent of Kisumu, Simon Kiragu, agreed the violence was orchestrated.

«Of course it was organized the trouble started not even 15 minutes after the announcement (of the election results),» he said. «It was like a time bomb and it happened all over the country.

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In the run-up to elections, police questioned an assistant Cabinet minister when they found his official vehicle loaded with more than 100 swords, clubs and bows and arrows. The minister said he knew nothing about them.

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Odinga has said Kibaki must take the blame for the violence since it was ignited by his alleged theft of the Dec. 27 presidential election.

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