Four injured as Kenya police confront protesters against poll body

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-10 00:55:33|Editor: yan
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NAIROBI, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- A man was shot and injured while three others seriously wounded by a motorist during Monday's protest across Kenya to push for changes at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) ahead of the repeat presidential polls scheduled for Oct. 26.

The trouble begun on the Nairobi street after armed man in a government vehicle shot one protester for allegedly trying to steal from the van. There was no confirmation about the theft and it was also not clear whether a police officer was behind the shooting.

The driver of the vehicle tried to speed off as demonstrators approached but ended up running over three people, just as the protesters were starting their march.

Police in plain clothes fired shots as hundreds of opposition supporters marched toward IEBC headquarters in Nairobi, demanding reforms at the electoral body.

Protesters had gathered at Central Park and started their march when gunshots were heard from Uhuru Highway amid claims the shot victim had tried to snatch a mobile phone from the motorist.

"The car stopped and one man in civilian (clothing) stepped out before he shot the victim once in the leg near the ankle and kicked him before he jumped back," said a witness. "As the other protesters sought to know why he had shot him, the driver sped off running over two others."

The registration numbers of the car were circulated and some Kenyans managed to identify him and even his photograph demanding action from the police.

The victims were attended and rushed to hospital as the protests proceeded with the group of more than 1,000 marched through Nairobi streets.

Nairobi Police County Commander Japheth Koome said investigations have been launched to determine the true identity of the shooter and the victims too.

Hundreds of National Super Alliance (NASA) supporters took to the streets demanding the resignation of IEBC officials who opposition leaders have accused of bungling the nullified Aug. 8 presidential election in favor of the ruling Jubilee Party candidate, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Some traders closed their businesses for fear of looting as protesters barricaded roads to prevent people from accessing the central business district.

Senator James Orengo, who is also the opposition NASA's lead counsel, said that before an election is conducted the so-called irreducible minimums must be met.

Orengo warned ruling party lawmakers not to pass a proposed amendment to the election laws that would limit circumstances in which the Supreme Court could nullify an election.

"Until and after our demands are met we will not negotiate. We will only participate in an election where we know the outcome will be free and fair," said Orengo, who was accompanied by more than 10 other lawmakers.

Riot police watched from a distance as the protesters marched past IEBC headquarters.

The opposition wants both systems and personnel changes at the commission, including the dropping of Dubai-based ballots printer Al Ghurair and technology supplier OT-Morpho of France.

Anti-IEBC protests also took place in western Kenya, eastern and coastal regions.

Apart from Nairobi, protests happened in Lamu, Vihiga, Mombasa, Kisumu, Kakamega, Makueni among other major towns. Protests in the areas were generally peaceful except for Kisumu, where police reportedly used teargas and gunfire to drive demonstrators out of town.

Businesses remained closed and transport paralyzed in the lakeside town.

Protesters barricaded the Nairobi-Kisumu highway using rocks and burning tyres.