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Kenyan police to charge over 20 suspects over Kisumu chaos

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Kenyan police said late Monday that they will charge in court 23 suspects who have been arrested following clashes that erupted in the country's third largest city Kisumu over the weekend.

Regional police commander Joseph Ole Tito said the violent protests broke out late on Saturday after the Supreme Court's ruling on election petition which was filed by Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Ole Tito said those who participated in the demonstrations and caused mayhem in the ever busy city will be arraigned in court on Tuesday once the police have completed their investigations.

"The police have so far arrested 23 criminal gangs, recovered some of the items that were stolen or looted from the premises of the suspects and with the sufficient evidence that we have, all these characters are supposed to appear before the court of law," Oletito told a news conference in Kisumu.

He said the suspects will face charges of robbery with violence, adding that the number of those who have been displaced as a result of violent protests has risen to 59 including 16 women, 21 male adults and 22 children.

Ole Tito also confirmed that two people were killed while 11 others were wounded in the skirmishes, and assured that the slums areas of the lakeside city of Kisumu which were rocked by violent protests are under control.

"There is still heavy presence of police security in the city as more patrols will ensure that no ugly incidents are reported in the slums," said the regional police commander.

"We have launched investigations into the incident and wish also to assure residents of increased security. Things have now calmed down and I hope many shops will open on Tuesday," Ole Tito said.

Police were forced to fire in the air and lob teargas canisters at the youths to try to disperse them when they barricaded the busy Kisumu-Kakamega road.

Gunshots were also heard late into the night on Saturday and early Sunday as police made attempts to disperse the rowdy youths. The March 30 Supreme Court's ruling with unanimous decision upheld the election of Uhuru Kenyatta as the duly elected fourth president of Kenya. The ruling dashed hopes of Odinga's supporters, many of whom expected another round of election after some irregularities were allegedly found during the re-tallying exercise which had been ordered by the court. The 67-year-old Odinga, the son of Kenya's opposition doyen, said Kenya is more important than an individual and urged Kenyatta to reunite all Kenyans and uphold constitutionalism.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/asianet/130403/kenyan-police-charge-over-20-suspects-over-kisumu-chaos