Violence erupts as Kenyan elections begin

NAIROBI:  Some unknow machete-wielding men killed at least 17 people as violence erupted after Kenyans on Monday started casting votes in a nationwide election seen as the country’s most important and complicated in its 50-year history.

Four other people, all of them Kenyan police officers, deployed to keep the peace in a tense presidential election, were also hacked to death by a gang hours before polling stations opened on Monday, a senior officer said

Security in the country has been stepped up significantly in an attempt to prevent the kind of violence witnessed five years ago when more than 1,000 people were killed in 2007 election-related violence.

The Kenyan authorities have worked hard to ensure a peaceful vote to restore Kenya’s image as one of Africa’s most stable democracies. Candidates have appealed for a calm election.

“Our officers who were on night patrol were attacked by a gang of youths wielding machetes and as a result four of the officers were killed. Two among the dead are senior officers who were overseeing the patrol,” said Ambrose Munyasia, chief of police intelligence in the Coast area.

Kenyans are voting on a new president, members of parliament, senators and county governors, as well as members of the newly formed county assembly; all eyes are on the hotly contested presidential race.


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