Clinton in Kenya for election talks

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iol pic afr Hillary Clinton REUTERS US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar.

Nairobi - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Kenya on Saturday on the latest leg of her Africa tour, where she is due to discuss regional security with Kenyan and Somali leaders.

Clinton, who visited neighbouring Uganda and South Sudan on Friday, headed first into a meeting with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, which will be followed by talks with Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

She is later due to meet the outgoing leaders of war-torn Somalia's transitional government, due to end later this month an eight-year interim period marred by infighting, minimal political progress and rampant corruption.

Ravaged by repeated droughts and over two decades of conflict, Somalia is torn between rival clans, al-Qaeda linked insurgents and the Western-backed government, propped up by a 17,000-strong African Union force.

Kenya, which invaded Somalia last year before joining the AU force, is a key US ally and closely linked to Washington's efforts to quash Islamist movements in the volatile Horn of Africa region.

One person was killed in a grenade attack in a Nairobi suburb late Friday, the latest in a string of blasts in Kenya since its troops invaded southern Somalia to crush extremist insurgent bases there last year.

Clinton is also expected to discuss Kenya's internal challenges, as East Africa's economic powerhouse gears up for a March general election, the first since deadly post-poll violence four years ago.

Kenya plunged into violence after the December 2007 election in which Odinga - then opposition chief - accused Kibaki as the incumbent president of having rigged his re-election.

What began as political riots soon turned into ethnic killings targeting members of Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe, who in turn launched reprisal attacks in the country's worst violence since independence in 1963.

Kibaki will not contest the next election.

Two presidential hopefuls, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former minister William Ruto, face trial in April in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity over the post-election killings, charges they deny.

They face counts including orchestrating murder, rape and persecution in the aftermath of the poll. - Sapa-AFP



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