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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 18:17 GMT
Tear gas adds to Kenya mourners' tears
By Kevin Mwachiro
BBC News, Nairobi

Barely a month after being elected as a MP, Melitus Mugabe Were was shot dead by two unknown armed men near his home in a Nairobi estate, sparking deadly clashes in the city.

Mourners outside Mugabe Were's house
Many mourners blamed the government for Mr Were's death
Angry supporters of Mr Were's opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), were unashamed in laying the blame on the government.

President Mwai Kibaki condemned the killing as a "heinous crime".

"We are treating it as a murder but we are not ruling out anything, including political motives," police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said.

"We are urging everyone to remain calm."

But the police did not endear themselves to Mr Were's family and ODM supporters when they arrived at the home of the MP and fired tear gas canisters into the group of mourners who had gathered.

The atmosphere by mid-morning was highly charged.

Blame game

Shocked mourners walked around the compound, clutching either Bibles or campaign posters of Mr Were.

Tears of grief - and tears fuelled by the tear gas - flowed freely and so did the anger, which was vented at the police, the government and Mr Kibaki's Kikuyu ethnic group.

Police near teargas
Police denied targeting the MP's house
Someone had to be responsible.

The possibility that the killing was a non-political crime could not be broached.

Outside the Were home, a group of a least 50 angry youths had already made their presence felt.

Journalists were vetted, as they wanted to keep out the state broadcaster and another privately-owned media house that they claimed was allied to the government.

Stone barricades, telephone poles and burning tyres were laid out on the road, transforming the middle-class leafy Woodley estate to the south of the city.

Police kept a close eye from a junction just 200 metres away from the Were home.

They defended their actions of lobbing tear gas into the home earlier, saying they wanted to prevent the youths from harassing motorists and causing any further damage to public property.

"Tear gas accidently drifted into the compound of the late member of parliament," one policeman said.

Local TV stations however showed otherwise, as security personnel were caught on camera firing the canisters into the compound still in mourning.

Until police apprehend Mr Were's killers, the blame game and the suspicion that has already filled the air will only add fuel to an already volatile situation.



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