Signs in Kenya That Killings Were Planned - New York Times

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Mon, 2008-01-21 12:53 by Hans

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Published: January 21, 2008

KERINGET, Kenya – At first the violence seemed as spontaneous as it was shocking, with machete-wielding mobs hacking people to death and burning women and children alive in a country that was celebrated as one of Africa’s most stable.

But a closer look at what has unfolded in the past three weeks, since a deeply flawed election plunged Kenya into chaos, shows that some of the bloodletting that has left more than 650 people dead may have been premeditated and organized.

Leaflets calling for ethnic killings mysteriously appeared before the voting. Politicians with both the government and opposition parties gave speeches that stoked long-standing hatred among ethnic groups. And local tribal chiefs held meetings to plot attacks on rivals, according to some of them and their followers.

As soon as the election results were announced, handing a suspiciously thin margin of victory to Kenya’s president, Mwai Kibaki – whose policies of favoring his own ethnic group have marginalized about half the country – all the elements lined up for the violence to explode.

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