NAIROBI, Kenya With days of protests failing to budge Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki from power, a weakened opposition said Friday it would turn to economic boycotts and strikes to keep up pressure over the East African nation's disputed election.
The third and final day of planned protests saw clashes erupt a few dozen miles from the country's premier Masai Mara game reserve in Narok, where one man died after being struck by an arrow in the chest and 25 others were wounded, local police chief Patrick Wambani said.
The clashes pitted Masai tribesmen against ethnic Kikuyus and both groups were armed with arrows, clubs and knifes, Wambani said, adding that homes and shops were burned. Kikuyus, who mostly backed Kibaki in the poll, have been chased from the west of the country by other tribes.
Elsewhere, police opened fire on protesters in Nairobi's Kibera slum, and a man and a woman were shot and killed. Skirmishes also broke out between police and thousands of demonstrators in the coastal tourist town of Mombasa, leaving one dead. And a man died of gunshot wounds at a Nairobi hospital. The latest violence brought the toll from three days of protests to at least 16.
Police in Mombasa fought running battles with protesters as they tried to scatter thousands of young men who marched from a downtown mosque. The protesters carried leafy twigs in a symbol of peace even as they chanted "Kill! Kill!" Police used tear gas and fired live bullets over the protesters' heads, then chased them down alleyways.
Overall though, the rallies' strength had largely evaporated with turnout down exponentially from recent days.
As protests have fizzled, Kibaki's hold on power has become more entrenched. His mandate, however, is thin and local and international observers have questioned his victory at the polls.
But there is no money to rerun the election and sorting a recount through the courts could take years.
The opposition's best hope may rest in wrangling a power-sharing agreement from the government, which could possibly give a prime ministerial post or vice-presidency to its leader, Raila Odinga.
The U.S. and other allies consider Kenya a vital partner against terrorism and as a regional economic and military powerhouse whose stability has stood in stark contrast to war-ravaged neighbors like Sudan and Somalia, where Islamic extremism is rife.
The United States blamed both leaders for the unrest.
"There are clashes because of the political deadlock," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, adding it was "beyond time" for Kibaki and Odinga to reach a compromise.
Kenya exploded in violence after the Dec. 27 election. Furious over the alleged vote rigging, Odinga's supporters rose up, burning homes, clashing with police and exposing long-simmering ethnic tensions. More than 600 people have been killed since then, the worst violence since a failed 1982 coup attempt.
Opposition spokesman Salim Lone said Odinga would call for a "boycott of companies owned by hard-liners who are around Mr. Kibaki," including one of Kenya's biggest banks, a prominent bus company and a major dairy producer. Lone also said they would work with unions "to organize strikes in selected industries."
"We are completely ready to negotiate in good faith. We want peace in the country," Lone said. "Our people are suffering."
Kibaki's government has made similar statements, but efforts by the U.S. and the African Union have failed to even bring Odinga and Kibaki together for talks.
On Thursday night, police arrested three foreigners they accused of suspected terrorist activities. One, German jazz musician Andrej Hermlin-Leder, is a friend and supporter of Odinga, opposition spokesman Lone said. A Dutch freelance journalist arrested, Fleur van Dissel, recently filmed a documentary about Odinga that was aired on independent Kenya Television Network days before the elections, he said.
Asked whether the arrests were linked to their connection to Odinga, police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said it had "nothing to do with that." He charged the three arrested "had footage of security installations in the country" and were detained "purely on criminal suspicion."
In Mathare, mobs attacked and wounded eight people and killed another, resident Alice Nduko, 35, said Friday. An Associated Press photographer saw the slain man's body lying by the side of a road, the back of his head split open.
Nduko said she fled to a neighboring air force base with about 200 other people. In a muddy plastic bag at her feet was a neighbor's severed hand, which she said had been hacked off by mobs last night. She had retrieved it from the slum "as evidence," she said."They've been killing our neighbors," said Nduko, an ethnic Kikuyu like Kibaki. "We came here because we are afraid."
Associated Press writers Katharine Houreld, Malkhadir M. Muhumed in Nairobi; Elizabeth A. Kennedy in Eldoret; and Katy Pownall in Kisumu contributed to this report.