Kenyan police use tear gas on food price demonstrators

June 1st, 2008 - 7:15 pm ICT by admin  

Nairobi, June 1 (DPA) Kenyan police fired teargas to disperse several hundred demonstrators calling on the government to introduce subsidies to battle rising food prices. Police said they arrested four demonstrators Saturday who were demanding the government slash the price of maize.

Inflation in the East African nation jumped to 26.6 percent in April from 21.8 percent the previous month due to the rising cost of food.

Upward global pressure on food prices has been exacerbated in Kenya by the post-election violence as grain stores were set on fire and farmers quit their fields to flee the fighting.

Some 350,000 people fled their homes after December’s elections, when violent clashes followed opposition leader Raila Odinga’s claims that President Mwai Kibaki’s Party of National Unity stole the elections from him.

More than 1,000 people died in clashes between rival tribes affiliated to the political parties.

A plague of army worms attacked maize crops in one region and a fungus decimating rice crops has also worsened the food crisis.

Sharply-rising food prices have already triggered sometimes-deadly protests in African nations such as Somalia, Senegal and Burkina Faso.

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