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Churches Accuse Government of Complicity in murders

Posted on: January 30, 1998 10:45 AM
Related Categories: Kenya

(ENI)The Roman Catholic Church and the National Council of Churches of Kenya have bitterly criticised the government of President Daniel arap Moi, accusing it of complicity in recent murders of dozens of people in Kenya's Rift Valley.

Those killed belong to the Kikuyu ethnic group, most of whom support the opposition Democratic Party which failed to oust President Moi's ruling KANU (Kenyan African National Union) in last month's elections. Because of continuing allegations of corruption and mismanagement by President Moi's government, the elections were a subject of intense interest in Kenya and abroad.

Many Kenyans believe that the Kikuyu are now paying with their blood for their political preferences. As well as the deaths, estimated at between 39 and 100 in the past three weeks, at least 20 000 people have fled their homes to escape attackers armed with machine guns and machetes.

The government has taken little action, claiming that the deaths are the work of cattle-rustlers from other ethnic groupings.

But Kenya's 22 Roman Catholic bishops have signed a statement, under the heading "In God's Name Please Stop This Genocide", vigorously denying the government's claim.

The bishops said the killings demonstrated a "well-orchestrated, planned and executed design of death that is beyond the capacity of locals".

In a statement entitled "The Butchering of Kenyans", the National Council of Churches of Kenya expressed its deep concern over the killings. The NCCK's general secretary, Mutava Musyimi, said reports he had received "point to" government complicity in some of the deaths.