WASHINGTON (AP) – Peace Corps volunteers in western Kenya were being evacuated from their posts because of postelection political and tribal violence that has left hundreds dead, the agency and the State Department said Friday.

About 35 Peace Corps workers stationed in Kenya’s three westernmost provinces that have been hardest hit by the clashes were being temporarily relocated to Tanzania, they said.

The volunteers – who were working on projects in the towns of Busia, Kisumu, Kericho and Kakamega – were safe and they should all be in Tanzania’s commercial capital of Dar es Salaam by Saturday, according to the Peace Corps and the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.

There are 144 Peace Corps volunteers in Kenya, although 22 are out of the country, according to Peace Corps spokeswoman Amanda Beck. Those not based in the west have been “consolidated in a variety of locations” in Kenya for their safety and are not working, she said.

Separately, the embassy has advised Americans in Kenya to remain indoors during the unrest that exploded on Sunday when President Mwai Kibaki was sworn in for a second term after disputed Dec. 27 elections that the opposition claims were rigged.

“American citizens residing in Kenya should carefully assess their own safety and security situations to determine whether to remain, or risk travel to alternative sites within or outside Kenya,” it said in a notice sent to U.S. citizens on Friday.

International observers have expressed deep concern about the violence and serious irregularities in vote counting. Several diplomatic efforts were under way to try to broker a peaceful resolution between Kibaki and his chief rival, Raila Odinga.


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