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Historic Election Day In Kenya Is Marred By The Killing Of 19

Voters line up in Kibera to vote. Long lines stretched over a mile long in some parts of Nairobi.
Gregory Warner
Voters line up in Kibera to vote. Long lines stretched over a mile long in some parts of Nairobi.

The historic presidential election in Kenya turned violent in two polling stations near the border with Somalia on Monday.

NPR's Gregory Warner reports from Nairobi that the attack marred what had been an otherwise peaceful day. He filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Separate attacks in the morning by Muslim separatists on Kenya's coast killed 19 people at a polling station before voting started. Otherwise throughout the country the election was mostly peaceful, but marked by long lines and bureaucratic snafus as officials struggled to handle the record turnout.

"This presidential election is the first after the disputed one of 2007 that prompted widespread tribal violence.

"A new Kenyan constitution passed in 2010 attempts to safeguard against a repeat by putting in more firebreaks for voting disputes to be solved in the courts instead of in the streets."

Kenya's Standard Media reports that a little after 9 p.m. local time, 1 million votes had been counted. A total turnout of 14 million was expected.

The early results, reports Voice of America, show Uhuru Kenyatta has taken the lead in the presidential race. Kenyatta is facing trial at the International Criminal Court for his role in the violence that marred the 2007 elections.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.