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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 17:10 GMT
Pre-election violence hits Kenya
Kenyan opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga
Kenyan politics is divided by ethnic affiliation
Kenyan police say 16 people have died in a week of escalating pre-election violence in the Rift Valley region.

National police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told a news conference that 87 huts had been razed and 267 families displaced in arson attacks on villages.

Previous Kenyan elections have been plagued by partisan violence.

Last month, police seized weapons including clubs and machetes, found in a government vehicle belonging to an assistant minister.

At the news conference, Mr Kiraithe warned politicians against fanning ethnic animosities.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki in Oct 07

"If you as a politician have been aiding or abetting these clashes in any way, we are certainly going to catch up with you. We are not going to spare anybody," he said.

Police are recruiting locals to serve as reserve officers in the Mount Elgon region, where hundreds of people have died in fighting over land, Mr Kiraithe said.

More than 14 million Kenyans are registered to vote in the 27 December elections which will choose a new president, parliament and local councils.

The latest opinion polls put the opposition candidate Raila Odinga slightly ahead of the incumbent Mwai Kibaki in the presidential race.

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