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Groups Call for Pressure on Kenya

April 8, 1998

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ Human rights groups pressed the international community Wednesday to step up pressure on Kenya to stop ethnic violence and implement democratic reforms.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Article 19 said despite moves to improve Kenya’s human rights before December elections, the momentum has not been sustained.

Binaifer Nowrojee of Human Rights Watch said politically instigated killings to punish the communities who voted for the opposition in central Kenya were still going on. In addition, thousands of displaced people are not being helped and the instigators of the violence remain at large, she said.

More than 100 people have been killed since January in clashes involving members of President Daniel arap Moi’s Kalenjin tribal group and the Kikuyus, who generally support the opposition.

Under international pressure, the government dispatched security forces to central Kenya in February and imposed a curfew in a bid to control the situation.

But the rights groups said Wednesday that individual killings were still going on, and other victims are often disfigured to scare away other dissenters.

The human rights groups, which interviewed more than 200 survivors and government officials, said the violence followed the pattern of 1991-94 clashes in which supporters of Moi’s ruling Kenya African National Union attacked tribes considered to support the opposition.

More than 300,000 people were displaced, and most have yet to return to their homes.

Nowrojee said rights officials could not support allegations of involvement of either government officials or the opposition in the latest violence, but the failure to act meant the government promoted a culture of impunity and violence.

The easily availability of guns made the situation worse, she said.

No comment from government was available. Amnesty International said Attorney General Amos Wako had refused to meet with the delegation.

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