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Renewed ethnic clashes hit Kenya

  • Story Highlights
  • EU commissioner tries for diplomatic solution to crisis in Kenya
  • Media reports: 6 killed, 50 houses burned in Eldoret
  • Opposition calls for economic boycott against pro-government business
  • 'Peaceful rallies' planned for Thursday
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NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- Diplomatic efforts to solve the violent fallout from Kenya's disputed elections continued over the weekend with a visit from the European Union's development commissioner Louis Michel, who met with President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

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Riot police patrol the streets of Nairobi on Sunday.

"We had a very nice discussion about the political situation in the country, the crisis that we are having," Odinga said after the Saturday meeting. "We told him our point of view."

Michel, meanwhile, said that the lack of stability in the nation "is good news for the extremists and anti-democratic forces."

"President Kibaki, of course, recognizes that there is a serious problem in his country," Michel said. "He is very concerned about that. There is a need for dialogue, cooling down and trying to get peaceful solutions. But he also knows that substantial problems have to be resolved."

Kenyan media reported that marauding youths armed with spears, bows and arrows and machetes were destroying homes around the town of Eldoret, near the border with Uganda.

The Kenyan Sunday Nation newspaper quoted the local district commissioner Abdi Halake, who said that six people were killed and 50 houses were burned to the ground in the weekend violence.

The Rift Valley town of Eldoret has been the scene of much of the post-election violence, which has resulted in at least 600 deaths and driven thousands from their homes.

Michel's trip came ahead of the arrival of an African Union delegation led by Kofi Annan expected Tuesday. The former U.N. Secretary General will try to mediate between the warring political factions. His visit was delayed after he was struck down with flu.

Kenya, long one of the most stable and economically developed nations in East Africa, descended into chaos after the elections.

Kibaki was re-elected in balloting that was thought to be rigged by many of his opponents. The result sparked widespread ethnically related violence.

Supporters of Kibaki, a member of the Kikuyu tribe, have battled with supporters of Odinga, a member of the Luo tribe, in bloody street fights that often involved machetes.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission told CNN Michel's visit was not an attempt to broker a deal between the two sides.

She said the commissioner was there to "collect first-hand information" about the situation on the ground in the country and to stress to both sides the need to co-operate with the African Union delegation. Michel left the country Saturday, she added.

Odinga's party kept up its protest against the president, announcing at a press conference Saturday plans for an "economic boycott" of companies whose directors are perceived to be close allies of the president, the Sunday Nation reported.

"These individuals are using the wealth they have created from our open democratic system to undermine the rule of law and democracy in Kenya," the paper reported party chairman Henry Kosgey as saying.

Kosgey said on Saturday the party plans to hold its next set of "peaceful rallies" throughout the nation on Thursday. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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