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August 21, 2017

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Kenya's opposition leader has called for a work boycott after election loss

NAIROBI —Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga on Sunday called on Kenyans not to go to work on Monday and said he would announce an action plan after losing an election to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

"They have spilled the blood of the innocent," Odinga said in a reference to protesters killed by police.

"Do not leave your homes. Do not go to work. We will make a declaration on Tuesday on which direction we are taking," he told supporters in the Nairobi slum of Kibera, an opposition stronghold.

Odinga said he had warned of a military plan to ruthlessly quell protests after the announcement of the results of the August 8 elections, which the opposition rejects as fraudulent.

"They knew they would be defeated in the elections and they planned to steal the elections. This plan involved shooting people and taking away their bodies in body bags," Odinga said.

The opposition earlier said 100 Kenyans had been killed in post-election violence. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights said it had counted 24 deaths and accused police of using "excessive force."

The National Police Service denied the allegations on Sunday, saying they were "unfounded and have no basis in fact and are clearly aimed at escalating tensions in the country."

There had only been six fatalities in the past two days, according to the statement published on Facebook, saying armed criminals had attacked police trying to arrest them.

A spokesman for the medical charity Doctors Without Borders meanwhile told dpa that it had treated 74 wounded, including 11 from gunshots, in Nairobi's Mathare slum since Friday.

A witness reported more unrest in Mathare on Sunday, saying he had heard explosions. Unconfirmed reports said two people had been shot dead.

An election official who had presided over a Nairobi polling station meanwhile committed suicide, his family member said.

Nyabicha Orenge left behind a note saying he was frustrated with the electoral commission's failure to stage transparent elections, family member Eric Orenge told dpa.

Orenge reportedly used a charcoal stove to kill himself by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Violence had earlier been reported in Kisumu in the west, with police using tear gas on protesters erecting road blocks and looting shops.

The State House on Sunday reported "violent protests, in which property has been damaged, and lives have been endangered."

"The police will not tolerate breaches of the peace; instead, they will protect the lives and property of Kenyans; and they will restore law and order," the statement added.

Kenya's electoral commission announced on Friday that Kenyatta, 55, who has been in office since 2013, won a second five-year term with 54.27 per cent of the vote. Odinga, 72, secured 44.74 per cent.

Opposition representative James Orengo said Odinga's National Super Alliance (NASA) was demanding the immediate withdrawal of security forces from Kibera, and said the opposition would demonstrate how the elections were rigged.

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