East African Standard (Kenya), May 29, 2003
By Dominic Wabala
Five people were seriously injured and three matatus burnt in Kayole in Nairobi yesterday by people believed to belong to the outlawed Mungiki sect.
One of the victims is in a coma while the others are in a serious condition.
The gang of over 50, armed with machetes and other crude weapons, attacked unsuspecting matatu crew in the vehicles at Kayole Estate’s Corner Mbaya market at about 3:30 am.
They slashed two watchmen and three matatu drivers and touts they suspected persuaded their colleagues not to pay protection fees to the sect.
The suspected Mungiki people also petrol-bombed three matatus completely destroying them before fleeing.
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The matatus, KAQ 002M, KAA 032X and KAK 830B, which were set ablaze, were taken to the Kayole Police Station.
Some of the matatus whose windscreens were smashed remained parked at the stage.
The injured were rushed to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).
Police, led by the Officer Commanding Buru Buru Police Division (OCPD), Mr Leo Nyongesa Ijora, and the DCIO Mr Henry Ondiek led an operation to crackdown on the sect members but there were no arrests.
Ijora said the detectives were pursuing crucial leads.
Reinforcements were called in from other stations within the city to maintain law and order in Kayole where tension remained high.
The attack was seen as a reaction against the matatu operators’ decision not to pay any money to the sect members who were to be replaced by stage clerks yesterday.
Trouble started when the Matatu Welfare Association (MWA) chairman, Mr Dickson Mbugua, sent out a circular to all matatu and bus drivers on route 19/60 ordering them not to pay money to Mungiki.
Instead, with effect from April 28 (yesterday) the matatu operators would pay the money to stage clerks based at Nyando stage.
The circular reached Mungiki people and matatu operators but not the police to whom it was copied. A copy of the letter was found at the doorstep of the Officer Commanding Kayole Police Station’s (OCS) office yesterday morning.
The MWA and the outlawed sect have been fighting for the control of matatu routes and stages.
In January, Mungiki people terrorised residents of two estates in Nakuru, killing 20 people and injuring 20 others.
Following the killings, police arrested nine suspects among them the former Nakuru Town MP David Manyara and arraigned them in court.
On February 5, some 200 Mungiki people visited terror on Dandora Estate in Nairobi and caused mayhem. They hacked two policemen to death before stopping several matatus and robbing passengers of cash and valuables.
They injured several others while police shot dead three Mungiki assailants.
Following the Nakuru incidents, the police sought to arrest the sect’s co-ordinator, Mr Ndura Waruinge, who went underground.
Waruinge was arrested two weeks ago. He was arraigned on April 17 and was released on a Sh200,000 peace bond.
Yesterday’s attack came after a two-month lull in attacks by Mungiki people.
Preliminary investigations yesterday revealed that some Mungiki leaders were seen in Kayole on Sunday afternoon and it is suspected that they had gone to arrange yesterday’s attack.
Matatu owners in Kayole declined to put their vehicles on the route yesterday morning and commuters were forced to walk long distances to seek alternative means of transport to their places of work.
The matatus resumed operations at 11.00 am after security in the area was beefed up.