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Africa

Kenya's police end deadly siege at home of deputy president

A 20-hour siege at Kenyan Deputy President Ruto's home has ended with the death of the suspected assailant. Ahead of divisive elections, officials have vowed to stop such attacks from undermining the electoral process.

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Kenyan deputy president's home attacked

Kenyan security forces on Sunday ended a 20-hour siege of the home of Deputy President William Ruto, less than two weeks before a divisive general election.

At least one police officer was killed and another injured after a man attacked the deputy president's residence. Authorities said Ruto left his home before the assailant launched the attack.

Wanyama Musyambo, Rift Valley regional security coordinator, said the suspect entered the compound after attacking security personnel, and then managed to hole himself up in an armory located at the residence.

Read more: The role of ethnicity in Kenyan politics

"It was a very delicate operation because, being in the armory, he was at an advantage and was firing various weapons, and this caused confusion because you would think there was more than one person firing," said Musyambo.

"After the operation we discovered that it was one gunman, but because he was inside there, he could change position and firearms because he had access to the guns. And the guns he was using were ours."

'Division will be defeated'

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto condemned the attack at rallies on Sunday, saying those who sought to undermine the state by attacking its leaders would not succeed.

Ruto later took to Twitter, offering his condolences to the family of the slain police officer and wishing a speedy recovery for the injured agent.

Read more: Kenya: Fears of rigging ahead of election

"Your bravery, courage and care of duty will be honored. Those whose mission is to create fear, despondency and division will be defeated," Ruto said.

Tensions have risen ahead of the general election slated for August 8. Both Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga have been dogged by political violence that erupted after the 2007 polls and left 1,100 people dead.

However, both escaped prosecution after the International Criminal Court dropped charges against them, citing a relentless campaign of victim intimidation.

Authorities said they have launched an investigation into the suspect behind Saturday's attack on the deputy president's residence to ascertain whether it was a lone wolf attack or if he was part of a greater network attempting to disrupt Kenya's political environment.

ls/tj (AFP, Reuters)

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