Victims of Kenya's post-election violence are attempting to return to normal life, but Christian workers say wounds caused by the ongoing turbulence will take a long time to heal. More than 600 people were killed by roaming mobs during the first week of conflict, and some 250,000 were driven from their homes.

"The depth of the hatred that flared up … was a shock to many of us," said Ngari Kariithi, senior pastor of Karura Community Chapel in northern Nairobi, a hosting site for hundreds of internally displaced Kenyans.

The violence erupted after President Mwai Kibaki claimed victory on December 27 in a disputed race against challenger Raila Odinga. Long-standing tribal rivalries spurred Odinga's supporters, who felt cheated by the electoral process. Fighting has been worst in the western Rift Valley Province: Pro-Odinga tribes (Kalenjin, Luhya, and Luo) attacked Kibaki's tribe (Kikuyu), driving people from their homes with machetes.

The National Council of Churches of Kenya reported that four churches were destroyed in the riots, including one in Eldoret, where 50 people were killed.

"We all fear the violence will be rekindled," said Bernard Terlouw, Kenya director of Mission Aviation Fellowship, which has been evacuating people from danger zones and flying in supplies to hard-hit areas.

Nick Wasunna, World Vision's emergency response specialist in Nairobi, said the humanitarian situation was likely to get worse for refugees, many of whom lack basic needs and fear returning home. They have been congregating at schools, police stations, churches, and open fields where relief agencies have been delivering aid. "The people are scared," said Wasunna. "A lot of trust and hope has been lost."

The blame for some of that fear has ...

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Christianity Today
Post-Mayhem Woes
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March 2008

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