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Kenya lawmaker slaying sparks further chaos

The slaying of a Kenyan opposition lawmaker sparked mayhem Tuesday across the country already reeling from spiralling violence set off by disputed elections a month ago.

Police fired tear gas and hundreds took to the streets of opposition strongholds in western Kenya and Nairobi’s slums to protest the murder of opposition MP Mugabe Were from Nairobi’s Embakasai constituency.

Heavily-armed police patrolled two recent western Rift Valley flashpoints of violence, the lakeside towns of Nakuru and Naivasha, where scores have died in gruesome attacks in recent days, pushing the overall death toll since the December 27 election to more than 900.

Plumes of smoke rose from Naivasha’s slums and machete-wielding youths burned houses and roamed the streets, an AFP correspondent said.

Amid the chaos, a mediating team led by Kofi Annan, which has been in Kenya for a week, said it would launch formal dialogue between President Mwai Kibaki and his opposition rival Raila Odinga at 4:00 p.m. (1300 GMT) in Nairobi.

Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement appealed for calm and restraint following the death of their lawmaker which police said was probably linked to the dispute over Kibaki’s reelection.

“This is a new kind of violence but let’s call again on people to be peaceful and to only respond to this kind of violence by shunning violence,” said Salim Lone, spokesman for the ODM of Raila Odinga — who claims he was robbed of the presidency.

“This is a very dark day for our country,” he added after the first killing of a lawmaker or government official since the clashes began.

Were “was shot outside his house” by gunmen, a police commander, who asked not to be named, told AFP earlier.

“It appears it is linked to post-election violence, but we are investigating,” he added.

Police fired tear gas and live rounds in Kisumu, Odinga’s western stronghold, where hundreds gathered to vent their anger.

Nairobi, Tuesday, AFP

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