World News

5 killed as Kenyan police, Odinga supporters clash in Nairobi

Posted November 17, 2017 5:31 p.m. EST

— At least five people are dead after demonstrations in Nairobi for Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga erupted into clashes with police on Friday.

Police blamed the deaths on angry crowds catching looters, Odinga's alliance claimed civilians were shot by police.

The violence flared after supporters gathered to welcome Odinga back from an overseas trip, and police attempted to disperse those supporters near Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

According to a statement by Kenyan National Police Service, five people died when they were "killed by stoning in different incidences after having been caught stealing by enraged crowds."

But according to Odinga's National Super Alliance (NASA), police reacted to Odinga's welcome party by shooting civilians and threatening the lives of the leaders of the coalition.

The coalition tweeted that the violence was an "attempt on (Odinga's) life."

The coalition posted photos of cars with broken windshields and people running through clouds of tear gas. Reuters and social media videos showed gas canisters being fired at Odinga's convoy. People were seen on the ground, lying in pools of blood, injured and possibly dead.

However, Kenyan police maintain that "no live ammunition was used; only tear gas and water cannons that were deployed for crowd control."

Police responded to accusations that police shot at one of the vehicles in the convoy by insisting that no live ammunition was used.

Supporters of the Kenyan opposition leader and members of the NASA coalition have demonstrated before, marching through the streets of Nairobi in October following his decision to quit a presidential election rerun due to his belief in a failed election commission when he did not think it could hold a fair vote.

The rerun was ordered by Kenya's Supreme Court after it invalidated the results of a contentious August 8 vote -- which gave victory to incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta -- following a challenge by Odinga over irregularities.