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Cablegate: Kenya: January 16, 2008 Status Report

O 161458Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4259
INFO AMEMBASSY KAMPALA PRIORITY
CDC ATLANTA GA PRIORITY 4226

UNCLAS NAIROBI 000184

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC CASC KE PGOV PREF
SUBJECT: KENYA: JANUARY 16, 2008 STATUS REPORT

REF: NAIROBI 148 AND PREVIOUS

1. AS OF 01/16 1800 HOURS (NAIROBI TIME):

SECURITY SITUATION: HEAVY RAIN AND ODM'S SUCCESS YESTERDAY
IN ELECTING ITS CANDIDATES FOR SPEAKER AND DEPUTY SPEAKER OF
PARLIAMENT MAY HAVE TAKEN SOME STEAM OUT OF THE
DEMONSTRATIONS TODAY. IN NAIROBI, DEMONSTRATORS BEGAN TO
MOBILIZE AROUND 1400; POLICE CORDONED OFF ACCESS TO UHURU
PARK/CITY CENTER AND PREVENTED DEMONSTRATORS FROM ENTERING
THE AREA. GROUPS RANGING FROM 30 TO 300 MARCHING TOWARD CITY
CENTER HAVE BEEN DISPERSED BY POLICE AND GSU WITHOUT DAMAGE
OR CASUALTY. SKIRMISHES BETWEEN POLICE AND GANGS OF YOUTH
(BURNING TIRES ON THE ROAD) NEAR KIBERA WERE DISPERSED
WITHOUT INCIDENT. THE MAJOR PROBLEM NOW IS TRAFFIC/COMMUTER
SNARLS. IN RIFT VALLEY/ELDORET, LARGE AND PEACEFUL CROWD
CONVERGED AND MARCHED THROUGH THE STREETS. BY 1600 HOURS,
CROWDS WERE DISPERSING BACK TO RESIDENTIAL AREAS. POLICE
DISPERSED DEMONSTRATORS WITH TEARGAS IN CENTRAL MOMBASA; AS
OF 1530, RELATIVE CALM. UNCONFIRMED REPORT OF HOUSE BURNINGS
AND ONE DEATH IN KITALE (WESTERN PROVINCE) OVERNIGHT AS
KALENJIN AND LUO GANGS CONTINUE TO TARGET KIKUYU RESIDENTS.

IN NYANZA/KISUMU, POLICE USED TEAR GAS TO REPULSE LARGE
CROWDS; SPORADIC SKIMISHES BETWEEN POLICE AND CROWDS IN PARTS
OF KISUMU, AHERO (15 KM FROM KISUMU) AND ALONG THE ROAD TO
KAKAMEGA. PRESS REPORTS OF TWO DEATHS AND SEVEN INJURIES AT
END OF THE DAY. SHOPS IN DOWNTOWN KISUMU WERE CLOSED; NO
LOOTING. CDC PERSONNEL REPORT THAT AS OF 1700 HOURS, CITY IS
QUIET.

ODM RAILA ODINGA ANNOUNCED THIS AFTERNOON THAT THE RALLIES
WILL CONTINUE TOMORROW AND FRIDAY, SO WE CAN EXPECT MORE
TRAFFIC DISRUPTIONS, SHOP CLOSURES, AND SKIRMISHES BETWEEN
DEMONSTRATORS AND POLICE/GSU.

POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS: FORMER SG KOFI ANNAN POSTPONED HIS
ARRIVAL FOR HEALTH REASONS.
HE IS EXPECTED IN NAIROBI TOMORROW OR FRIDAY. AFTER ELECTING
ITS SPEAKER AND DEPUTY SPEAKER,
PARLIAMENT ADJOURNED TODAY, UNTIL THE NEXT REGULAR SESSION IN
MARCH.

MISSION PERSONNEL: EMBASSY -- AND CDC AND MRU OFFICES -- IN
NAIROBI AND KISUMU WERE OPEN
FOR BUSINESS TODAY AND WILL BE TOMORROW. ALL OFFICIAL
AMERICANS AND FSN/LES EMPLOYEES ARE
ACCOUNTED FOR; AGENCY AND SECTION HEADS HAVE BEEN REMINDED TO
NOTIFY AND MAINTAIN CONTACT
WITH TDY VISITORS. INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF KENYA, CLOSED
TODAY, WILL BE OPEN TOMORROW.
ROSSLYN ACADEMY WILL BE ON HALF-DAY SCHEDULE THROUGH THE END
OF THE WEEK.

AMCITS: NO REPORTS OF CASUALTIES TO DATE. AMBASSADOR HAS
SCHEDULED A TOWN HALL MEETING
WITH NON-OFFICIAL AMERICANS FOR FRIDAY, JANUARY 18.

RANNEBERGER

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