Kenya: Outlawed gangs re-emerge in city slums to offer protection

Outlawed gangs have re-emerged in some parts of Nairobi hit by violence occasioned by the disputed presidential poll.

Taliban and Mungiki gangs are active in Kariobangi, Huruma and Mathare and are believed to be responsible for some of the killings in the areas.

On Wednesday, the paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU) raided Kariobangi and conducted a door-to-door search for gang members.

Five suspects were arrested after the officers found a blood-stained machete in their hideout.

One-hour raid

Kasarani police commander Paul Ruto said they launched the one-hour raid after a man was hacked to death as he walked to work early Wednesday.

Eight people have, since Sunday night, been killed in the areas. They include gang members gunned down by police.
But residents allege the death toll is higher and many of those killed are victims of gang attacks.

The gangs, the Nation learnt, are also enjoying the support of some residents and property owners.

Not long ago they were dreaded for macabre killings.

The Mungiki gang, which went underground after a crackdown on its members, had been linked to controlled extortion rings. Its members beheaded anybody who refused to pay illegal “protection fees”.

Provide security

But after the eruption of post-electoral violence, members of some communities have embraced the outlawed gangs to provide security in their territories.

No physical boundaries have been erected but some sections are no-go zones to members of particular communities.
Landlords have also been bankrolling gang members to ensure their property is not destroyed.

The property owners are also using the gangs to evict tenants who had occupied their houses forcibly at the onset of the electoral chaos.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
Daily Nation, Kenya
Jan. 23, 2008
Fred Mukinda

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This post was last updated: Jan. 24, 2008