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Saba Saba day: Key players in current state of unrest

07 July 2014, 17:03

Nairobi - Thousands of Kenyans rallied Monday for an anti-government Saba Saba demonstration amid high political tensions.

The government accuses local political groups of carrying out a series of coastal attacks, but Somalia's Shebab say they are to blame.

Here is a summary of key actors.

GOVERNMENT: President Uhuru Kenyatta, 52, elected in 2013, heads the Jubilee Coalition party. Kenyatta is viewed as a key leader of the country's largest single ethnic group the Kikuyu, making up over a fifth of the population. His deputy William Ruto comes from the Kalenjin people, who make up around 12 percent of the country. Both face crime against humanity trials at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for post-election violence in 2007-2008.

OPPOSITION: The main political opposition is led by Raila Odinga, who heads the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) party. Odinga, 69, a former prime minister, comes from the Luo people of western Kenya, who make up some 13 percent of the population. He lost to Kenyatta in 2013 elections. CORD denies any role in recent attacks.

SOMALIA'S SHEBAB: The Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents have claimed responsibility for a string of attacks in revenge for Kenya's military role in Somalia with the African Union force. Shebab gunmen also carried out a four-day siege of Nairobi's Westgate mall in 2013.

KENYAN ISLAMISTS: Allied to or supporters of the Shebab, groups include Al Hijra, previously known as the Muslim Youth Centre (MYC). Tensions are high after a series of assassinations of hardline preachers based in mosques in the port city of Mombasa. Around 12 percent of Kenyans are Muslim.

MOMBASA REPUBLICAN COUNCIL (MRC): Outlawed coastal separatists who complain of economic marginalisation, with both Muslim and Christian supporters. Members argue they are a political party, insisting on their separate cultural identity from the rest of Kenya, but police accuse them of carrying out attacks.

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