Kenyan police revive investigations into 2007-08 election killings

·2-min read

NAIROBI(Reuters) - Kenya said on Monday it was reviving investigations into 72 murders as well as allegations of forced eviction and arson during post-election violence in 2007-2008 after victims and their families came forward to give statements.

The fighting in late 2007 and early 2008, some of the worst in Kenya's history, erupted after Raila Odinga, then an opposition leader, accused then-President Mwai Kibaki's party of stealing the election.

About 1,300 people were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced from their homes in the ensuing battles.

Uhuru Kenyatta, now president, and his deputy William Ruto were among six Kenyans charged at the International Criminal Court over their alleged roles in the deadly inter-ethnic violence.

Kenyatta and Ruto both denied the charges and their cases collapsed due to insufficient evidence.

It was not immediately clear why victims had come forward with statements now, more than four years after those cases were concluded, but Kenyan media reported some had received threats ahead of the next election in 2022, without giving details.

Rights groups have in the past accused Kenya's political elite and police of stalling investigations into the perpetrators of the violence.

George Kinoti, the head of the police's Directorate of Criminal Investigations, said they had so far received statements into a total of 114 cases, which include 72 murders and 44 of those forcefully displaced from their land.

"There are no criminal cases which are ever closed. Criminal cases are live throughout their lifespan," Kinoti said while addressing a group visiting his office to give their statements.

"All the statements you give us, we will compile our files properly, to produce evidence and swear in court that so and so killed so and so; that this one committed arson, or the other one evicted another from their farm."

A 2008 powersharing deal between Kibaki and Odinga brokered by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan stopped the fighting and created Kenya's first coalition government.

(Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Alison Williams)