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ICRC expresses deep concerns about violence in Kenya
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Kenyan women prepare to place flowers after a peaceful demonstration at Nairobi's Freedom Corner, January 30, 2008. Kenyans pleaded on Wednesday for an end to violence that has killed 850 people and created unprecedented horror in the east African nation's darkest moment since 1963 independence.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Wednesday it was deeply concerned about the escalation of violence that had rocked Kenya over the past week.

"The violence has entered a new phase," said Pascal Cuttat, the ICRC's head of operations in Kenya, in a statement. "It broke out in the wake of elections but is now being driven by ethnic divisions, and there is a great risk of further deterioration."

According to Cuttat, "some people have been killed in horrible circumstances, while others have been left with scars for life. Many have lost all their belongings, and hundreds of thousands of displaced people are living in temporary camps."

The ICRC called on all political, administrative, security and local community leaders in Kenya to do their utmost to uphold respect for life and human dignity, and to ensure that the Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies have unimpeded access to all those who require assistance.

"The violence is causing untold suffering in many communities and spiraling into a succession of attacks, reprisals and counter-reprisals," said Cuttat.

"The longer this is allowed to continue, the more difficult it will be to return to stability and bring about some form of reconciliation," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2008)

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