Despite peace, Kenyan refugees fear return

March 11, 2008 at 12:56 PM
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NAIROBI, Kenya, March 11 (UPI) -- Kenya's president and his main rival agreed two weeks ago to end their conflict but many Kenyan refugees fear returning home, the Daily Nation said.

Conflict resulting from a contentious presidential race between Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, leader of the opposition Orange Democratic Movement, displaced more than 350,000 people.

The parties reached a power-sharing agreement to end the crisis but many of the displaced refugees are afraid to return, the Kenyan newspaper reported Tuesday.

Refugees said they were afraid their neighbors harbored resentment as the presidential crisis sparked ethnic violence. Many said their homes were destroyed and pointed to a general lack of money to start over, as well.

Some refugees called on the Kenyan leadership to extend reconciliation to those most affected by the conflict.

"It is those at the top who have greeted each other. But we are yet to go back and greet our neighbors because we are not sure of how they will receive us because they are the ones who chased us away," one of the refugees told the Daily Nation.

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