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Viewing cable 08NAIROBI311, KENYA ELECTORAL CRISIS: VIOLENCE FLARES IN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08NAIROBI311 2008-01-29 14:02 2011-03-01 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Nairobi
VZCZCXRO3970
PP RUEHROV
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
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RUCQSOC/USCINCSOC MACDILL AFB FL
C O N F I D E N T I A L NAIROBI 000311 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
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 
attacks. 
 
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. 
End Comment. 
RANNEBERGER