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Negotiating Talks Break Down

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Internally displaced persons at a camp just outside Nairobi’s slum of Mathare © Anne Holmes

Chief mediator Kofi Annan announced today that he was suspending talks in order to deal directly with the two leaders. He insisted the talks had not collapsed, but clearly an impasse has been reached. This morning, he announced that he was quitting, perhaps a form of postering to get the PNU to return to the table. But by the end of the day he said he felt the negotiations with opposing party members over the past month had amounted to turning in circles, and he was suspending the talks with the principles and other party leaders in order to try to get Odinga and Kibaki to meet face to face to accept the gravity of the situation and make compromises for a power sharing agreement. This comes one day before the Wednesday deadline set by ODM that if a concrete agreement is not arrived at, they will ask their supporters to take to the streets in another round of mass action. Protests are likely in Kisumu city tomorrow.

Pockets of violence have been erupting around the country since the weekend, and three people were hacked by Luos wielding machetes early this afternoon in the Nairobi slum of Mathare North. They were rescued by MSF sometime around 2 p.m. and none died of their wounds though their injuries were serious. A number of car jackings were reported around Nairobi today as well.

The official numbers of deaths and displaced peoples have suddenly jumped in the press. Last week the number of deaths jumped from 800, where it had hoovered “officially” for weeks, to more than 1,000. Now police are saying that number is 1,500. The official number of displaced people jumped suddenly from 350,000 to 600,000 (AP). It is highly likely that these numbers are gross underestimations, particularly the deaths, as is typical in the history of violent eruptions in Kenya.

CORRECTION: That figure of 600,000 appears to have been a typo in a report which I cannot seem to find. My apologies.

CORRECTION 2: BBC is now citing the number of displaced at 600,000 in their latest article and so is The Guardian.

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