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Archive for Saturday, February 2, 2008

Rival sides agree to halt violence; death toll rises

February 2, 2008

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— Kenya's rival sides said Friday they had agreed to take action to end the monthlong violence from a disputed presidential election, but the death toll mounted when police fired on mobs setting homes and businesses ablaze in the west of the country.

Kofi Annan, the former U.N. secretary-general who is mediating, said the sides had agreed to tackle within a week the most pressing issues - including resolving the immediate political crisis. Both sides called for illegal militias to be disbanded and for the investigation of all crimes connected to the violence, including alleged excessive force by police.

"The first (step) is to take immediate action to stop the violence and restore fundamental liberties," Annan said.

A document signed by both sides said an agreement might require "adjustments" to the constitution - suggesting a power-sharing arrangement that would give opposition leader Raila Odinga a new position.

Police in western Kenya fired on armed mobs who set homes and businesses on fire. At least 14 people died in the latest clashes, sparked by a police officer killing an opposition legislator Thursday.

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