Kenyan MPs brawl over security bill

NAIROBI - Kenyan lawmakers traded blows and the deputy speaker had water thrown on her during a chaotic parliamentary session which approved changes to a tough new security bill.

Opposition MPs shouted and ripped up copies of the bill, warning that Kenya was becoming a "police state".

Four lawmakers were assaulted and another two engaged in a fist-fight.

Parliamentary officials adjourned the debate twice, before the controversial changes were pushed through.

The government says it needs more powers to fight militant Islamists threatening Kenya's security.

The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group has stepped up its military campaign in Kenya, killing 64 people in two attacks in the north-eastern Mandera region since last month.
TV feed cut

The governing Jubilee Coalition MPs approved the changes despite howls of protest from the opposition in one of the most chaotic parliamentary sessions in Kenya's history, reports the BBC's Emmanuel Igunza from the parliament.

Security staff and MPs surrounded Speaker Justin Muturi as voting got under way, our correspondent says.

Earlier, opposition MPs mobbed his rostrum and threw books, documents and other projectiles in a bid to block the vote, AFP news agency reports.

But the two sides set aside their differences to endorse President Uhuru Kenyatta's nomination of former army general Joseph Nkaissery as interior minister.

His predecessor was sacked after the Mandera attacks.

At one point, live television broadcasts of the debate were cut as the session degenerated into chaos, our correspondent says.

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