The Nation (Kenya), Jan. 8, 2003
Police declared war on Mungiki yesterday as the number of those killed in two attacks by members of the outlawed sect rose to 23.
Police Commissioner Philemon Abong’o ordered his field commanders countrywide to arrest and prosecute Mungiki followers, who have been blamed for the murder of 14 in Nakuru Town on Sunday and another two in Murang’a District.
Seven members of the sect were killed in Nakuru. “Three were lynched by the public while four were shot dead by police,” Mr Abong’o said in a statement signed by police spokesman King’ori Mwangi.
The latest killing occurred at Kahuro in Murang’a District when about 50 members of the sect attacked the home of Mr Nicholas Kuria Ndegwa and killed him on Monday night.
Mr Abong’o spoke as a General Service Unit (GSU) platoon was dispatched to Nakuru town to boost security. The GSU personnel, who arrived in the town on Monday evening from their camp at Jolly Farm area in Molo, will assist regular police in maintaining order.
Officers in charge of the GSU men yesterday attended a security meeting convened by the Nakuru Divisional Police Commander Mr Joel Lang’at.
Police were holding 81adherents of the Mungiki sect for their role in the weekend violence.
Three other people, including the immediate former Nakuru Town MP David Manyara were picked up by police for interrogation on Monday afternoon.
Also arrested were Mr Zakayo Maina Waweru, who contested the Langa Langa civic seat on a Kanu ticket during the just concluded General Election, and Mr Njoroge Bumasu, the chairman of Mololine Services Limited.
The three men were taken to Central Police Station but were later in the evening transferred to different stations.
Mr Lang’at said police had crucial leads regarding those who sponsored the violence. One of the suspects confessed to having hacked seven people. Another sect member who had escaped with a gunshot wound was arrested yesterday in the town’s outskirts where he was hiding. He was cornered after police were tipped off by the public.
The police boss said his men recovered paraphernalia belonging to the sect members at a quarry in the town. Among the items was a booklet entitled “Mungiki: The Unshakable Foundation – Freedom, Justice and Prosperity” which bore a portrait of sect leader Maina Njenga.
There were also some snuff containers and coloured walking sticks, a tie, a simi and a badge the words: “On His Majesty’s Service” emblazoned on it.
Two National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) leaders in Nakuru town, who were arrested on Monday for allegedly inciting residents of Kivumbini, Lake View and other residential areas to violence in protest of the attacks were released from custody in the evening and ordered to report back to police yesterday morning.
They were Mr William Ating’a and Mr Philemon Ochieng who is the councillor-elect for Kivumbini ward.
Mr Ating’a told the Nation that he was placed in the same cell with the Mungiki suspects, 21 of whom were still nursing injuries which they sustained after they were beaten up by members of the public before being handed over by the police.
Meanwhile, 17 people injured in the orgy of violence that rocked Nakuru Town on Sunday were yesterday recuperating in hospital as bereaved families pleaded with the government to help them meet the burial costs.
Nakuru Divisional Police Commander said his officers had managed to identify bodies of 10 residents who were killed in the violence and those of five Mungiki sect adherents.
Doctors at various hospitals said most of the patients were out of danger.
Twelve of the injured were admitted to the Rift Valley Provincial General Hospital, two at Nakuru Nursing Home, two at Pine Breeze Hospital and one at Valley Hospital.
The provincial hospital’s medical superintendent, Dr Sammy Yego, told the Nation that the 12 patients were responding well to treatment.
He said doctors had stitched all the victims who had panga [machete] cuts on their heads and limbs. The victims, all male, were in the hospital’s ward seven.
Two others at the Nakuru Nursing Home said that their condition had improved.
“The man was in a critical condition when he was brought here on Sunday night but his condition is now satisfactory. The woman has also improved and she could be discharged any time from now,” Mrs Maina said.
A doctor at Valley Hospital said an employee of the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru, Mr Christopher Abbas, who was taken there on Monday morning was responding well to treatment.
Meanwhile, an air of gloom still hung over Kimathi and Flamingo estates which bore the brunt of the attacks.
Yesterday, relatives and friends of the victims held meetings as they sought ways of raising money to meet the hospital bills and mortuary costs following injuries and death of their kin.
“We need all the assistance we can get to meet the funeral costs and other needs of the families,” said Mr Mustafa Munyi, a relative of Chrispo Karoki one of those at Kimathi estate.
Mr Nelson Shebasinya, 35, who lost both his 60-year-old father Joash Shebasinya and 20-year-old brother Boniface in the attacks also made the same appeal.
Ms Deborah Ambale of Nation Media Group’s Advertising Department was among those bereaved. She lost her younger brother Saul Likuyi, 26, who was murdered by the gang as he rushed out to rescue his elderly neighbour John Kamotu who was attacked by the gang outside his house in Kimathi estate.
Reported by Jacinta Ochieng, Watoro Kamau, Mark Agutu and Simon Siele