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Six killed as Kenya gears for Annan mediation

world Updated: Jan 22, 2008 18:43 IST

Six people were killed in tribal clashes in Kenya's Rift Valley police said on Tuesday, as the country awaited the arrival of former UN chief Kofi Annan as a mediator in the deadly political stand-off.

The latest deaths brought to at least 63 the number of people killed since Wednesday when opposition chief Raila dinga and his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party called for nationwide protests over the re-election of President Mali Kibaki.

The six, including a father and his two sons, were killed late yesterday in the volatile Molo district, where rival tribes have been clashing in recent weeks, a police commander told AFP.

"There is a big problem in Molo," he said.

Meanwhile, the ODM has called for demonstrations on Thursday which police have vowed to block, raising fears of fresh street confrontations.

"The police are doing all they can to ensure that the rule of law is respected and is inviting all citizens to assist them," police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told AFP.

"We also appreciate the support the police is receiving from the people of Kenya and the government in trying to restore law and order across the country," he said.

Political protests have devolved into tribal clashes, taking place mainly in western Kenyan and Nairobi's crowded slums - ethnic tinderboxes where most of Kenya's 42-plus tribes co-exist - and in rural areas already beset by feuds over land and resources.

Most of the victims are members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe, which has dominated the country's economic life for years and has been the target of revenge attacks since Kibaki was accused of rigging the December 27 elections.