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December 18, 2017

[VIDEO] Tear gas, gunshots as NASA supporters wait for Raila outside JKIA

Police outside the JKIA in Nairobi as NASA supporters waited for NASA leader Raila Odinga to arrive, November 17, 2017. /COURTESY
Police outside the JKIA in Nairobi as NASA supporters waited for NASA leader Raila Odinga to arrive, November 17, 2017. /COURTESY

Anti-riot police fired in the air and hurled tear gas canisters on Friday to disperse NASA supporters who were marching to JKIA to welcome their leader Raila Odinga.

The crowd, which had blocked Mombasa Road, engaged police in running battles at Cabanas area.

The supporters were chocked at the tear gas filled the air but some still waved placards and twigs and made fun of the officers.

Security has been heightened in and outside the airport as opposition leaders said they will at least a million people to welcome the NASA chief back from the US.

IG Joseph Boinnet warned against the march saying travellers' safety was the priority.

Details: Boinnet warns NASA against marching to JKIA to receive Raila

Police outside the JKIA in Nairobi as NASA supporters waited for NASA leader Raila Odinga to arrive, November 17, 2017. /COURTESY 

It is not clear at exactly what time Raila will land following his 10-day tour but reports in the morning indicated he had reached Africa.

Motorists using the airport route complained of heavy traffic as police conducted thorough checks that slowed flow.

Kenyans on Twitter welcomed the NASA leader using #RailaReturns.

"The man, the enigma, the people's president, the patriot, father of the nation...father of democracy. Raila Odinga is on his way back home," noted one 'Hill Kip'.

Mbiti Mwondi was reminded of the Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem and said "indeed Raila is our saviour sent by God himself to deliver us from the devil in the UhuRuto government."

After the repeat election on October 26, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati announced that President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto would rule for another five years. The Supreme Court is currently hearing petitions against Uhuru's victory and will take a break to decide whether the election should be cancelled.

Tear gas is seen near the JKIA in Nairobi as NASA supporters waited for NASA leader Raila Odinga to arrive, November 17, 2017. /COURTESY 

'@mtemii_one' said the grand welcome cannot be missed.

"We missed. Police had no job...#BabaWhenYouWereInAmerica," the person wrote.

Monica Atieno welcomed the Opposition leader back and said that while he was away, supporters were arrested.

'Abnormal security'

Other users faulted police for "abnormal security" at the airport while others said the service respects Raila.

"#RailaReturns but the Kenyan police service is a big joke. Whatever they are doing at JKIA is abnormal. How about going to Kapedo to stabilise the situation or doing anything useful for the country? This man powerful," said Roset Nandaya.

Gatetua Nnduati said: "I can't stop wondering whether even after blocking NASA supporters from accessing JKIA, the plan shall work. [The government] fears RAO (Raila Amollo Odinga)."

'@ClichySweet' said: "The security measures encrypted at the JKIA and its environs are marvellous. The people's president must be accorded respect."

'@Dalahow' said: "Security at JKIA akin to the arrival of Air Force One carrying POTUS."

On Thursday, there was a confrontation at the airport between NASA leaders and the police. Journalists were earlier denied entry to the airport for a press conference by the leaders.

Police blocked the main gate and ordered them to reverse saying no politician would be allowed into the facility.

More: Police block JKIA ahead of NASA presser, say politicians not allowed

The Opposition leader said he was happy to return to the country after briefing the US on the state of bungled elections. Raila explained to an American audience why he led a boycott of the October 26 presidential election. He was to face President Uhuru Kenyatta for the second time but he pulled out citing lack of reforms at IEBC.

More on this: [VIDEO] I'm happy to return to Kenya, Raila says after 'successful' US tour

Also read: West failed Kenya during election but it's not too late, Raila tells CSIS

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