Cablegate: Kenya Electoral Crisis: Violence Flares In
DE RUEHNR #0311 0291400
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291400Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4469
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 9854
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 5750
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 5073
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2588
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 1857
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2618
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2552
RUCQSOC/USCINCSOC MACDILL AFB FL
C O N F I D E N T I A L NAIROBI 000311
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/29/2018
TAGS: PHUM ASEC PGOV KE
SUBJECT: KENYA ELECTORAL CRISIS: VIOLENCE FLARES IN
KALENJIN/KIKUYU BORDER TOWNS
REF: 07 NAIROBI 2215
Classified By: Political Counselor Larry Andre, reasons 1.4 (b,d)
1. (SBU) Late on January 24, a fresh round of violence
erupted in Nakuru, Naivasha, and Tomboroa -- all Rift Valley
Province towns near the border of Kikuyu-dominated Central
Province. The highest death toll was in Nakuru, where
clashes between rival armed gangs armed with machetes,
spears, bows and arrows killed over 60 people.
2. (C) In response to the violence, two army platoons
(approximately 60 troops) deployed to Nakuru to support the
police on January 25. By January 26, the number had
increased to four platoons (approximately 120 troops). The
troops patrolled roads, cleared road blocks and protected
displaced people. At one point (likely by accident) troops
found themselves between two gangs preparing to clash. They
were able to disperse the gangs with no shots fired.
3. (SBU) In Naivasha town, armed gangs (rumored to be from
the Kikuyu Mungiki criminal organization - see reftel)
launched attacks against non-Kikuyus. At least 19 people
(Luo, Luhya, and Kalenjin) were reportedly burned in their
homes or hacked to death.
4. (SBU) In Timboroa, a town north of Nakuru, police contacts
reported that two groups of Kalenjin arsonists torched a
settlement of 50 timber houses on the night of January 27.
There were other reports that the attacks were more serious.
The other reports described armed Kalenjin gangs, some of
whom were dressed in police and army uniforms, who launched
organized attacks against Timboroa residents (presumably
Kikuyu). According to the Kenya Red Cross, approximately
10,000 people have been displaced as a result of the Timboroa
5. (C) Police contacts reported that ethnic violence has
escalated to the point where their forces are becoming
overstretched. "We are operating in crisis mode," the
contact said. On January 28, former UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan was reported in the press to have called for
Kenya's armed forces to deploy to suppress the fighting.
6. (SBU) There are also credible reports that youth gangs are
now manning roadblocks and providing security escorts in
places like Kisumu (Western Province), Naivasha, and Nakuru.
7. (C) Comment: So far, Kenya's military forces have tried to
keep their involvement at a minimal level, but the pressure
appears to be increasing for them to play a more active role.
Neither the police nor the armed forces are well trained in
riot control, and the rules of engagement for both forces are
likely to be similar. If the military does begin to assume a
greater role in trying to quell the violence, however, we
believe that the stronger chain of command will lead to
greater discipline and fewer incidents of excessive force.