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Murdered: Sect Members Who Said No

The Nation, Kenya
June 19, 2004
Cyrus Kinyungu
www.nationmedia.com

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Saturday June 19, 2004

These are the faces of death – six people ruthlessly murdered by a Mungiki revenge squad desperate to silence them for spilling the sect’s secrets.

Within the last six months, 14 known defectors have either been killed or have mysteriously disappeared in what is turning out to be a major underworld war.

They have been killed since an ultimatum to defectors to rejoin the sect expired in January.

The brutal beheading of a street preacher two weeks ago is only the latest in a chain of apparent executions to have befallen defectors from Mungiki.

The death of Simon Ndabi Kamore, the preacher whose head was found at a Nairobi bus stop where he used to give sermons, was a stark warning to other would-be defectors of what they could expect if they betrayed the sect, police said.

They have so far failed to recover his body which, they believe, might have been cut up and thrown into the Nairobi River.

Others known to have either died or vanished, presumed murdered, include:

Mr Bernard Wahome Kahiga and his wife Jane Nyambura who were murdered at their home in Murang’a, in April.

In March, Pastor James Irungu Njenga, alias Wakaguku, and his wife Florence were shot dead at their home in the Kiamaiko slum in Nairobi as their horrified children watched.

In the same month, Mr Joseph Ng’ang’a Ngunja, alias Wamuthoni, was kidnapped, and no trace of him has been found.

In February Mr Francis Njoroge Maina, alias Mabro, was found murdered in the capital, and in January Mr Jacob Nderiitu Karanja was kidnapped and he too has not been found.

It is believed many more defectors could have been executed outside Nairobi and their bodies buried in places where they might never be found.

Relatives of some of these people could still be looking for their loved ones, unaware that they could have been killed.

Now former members of the banned Mungiki sect are living in fear, following the series of kidnappings and murders that the police appear unable to solve.

Many members defected after National Security minister Chris Murungaru offered an amnesty early in the Kibaki administration… only to be eliminated one by one by the sect’s diehards.

Now the remaining defectors who have come out openly to give information to the security forces about the secrets of Mungiki are living in fear as the Government looks on seemingly unable to act.

The defectors have been forced to abandon the warmth of their homes and instead, now seek shelter in city lodgings as they play cat and mouse games with the sect’s killers who are hunting them down.

A few of those who have denounced Mungiki have also taken their families to the lodgings where the special crack Cobra Squad formed by Nairobi provincial commissioner Francis Sigei is protecting them.

But despite police protection, Mungiki members have managed to pick up some of their former colleagues and whisked them away without trace.

Left with no other option, the defectors are now seeking help to leave a country they believe has failed to offer them protection from the murderous sect members who seem to be operating with impunity. They say their lives can only be guaranteed if they quit Kenya.

Now the sect has started to murder innocent people, as seen in Nairobi’s Mlango Kubwa estate where they killed a 13-year-old school girl, Evelyne Mumbua, a pupil at Pangani Primary school.

Evelyne died when Mungiki members unleashed terror on the slum residents after seven of their key leaders were arrested by officers from the Cobra Squad.

They pelted the police vehicle with stones in an attempt to rescue their leaders. Then after they were overpowered, they turned their anger on the residents, slashing everyone who crossed their path.

Residents said many people were injured though they never reported it to the police because they feared retribution of the Mungiki gangs.

The group had been collecting Sh50 from every household every month, supposedly to maintain security.

On the Mungiki menace, Nairobi provincial police chief Mwangi King’ori said: “We received the message Mungiki was trying to send by beheading its defector and dumping his head at a bus stop. Starting from last weekend, we began sending a very powerful reply that will make them regret it.”

Mr King’ori said police had opted to remain faceless to deal with the faceless gang. Operations had been taking place in many of their hideouts as police try to smoke them out of the dens, said Mr King’ori.

Mr Sigei, who defectors say is the only person trying to protect them, is also worried that none of the politicians seems to be condemning the killings.

He accuses some police officers of collaborating with the sect members.

His Cobra Squad was formed to eliminate Mungiki in Nairobi, but does not operate in other areas.

So far the squad has managed to raid the sect’s headquarters at Mukuru kwa Reuben three months ago, when incriminating evidence about the sect was recovered.

Police said information indicating that Mungiki was a revolutionary group formed 20 years ago to overthrow the Government was found in a slum clinic that served as its headquarters.

Information on the sect’s manifesto was also found, including training and oathing videos.

The notes recovered at the clinic refer to Mungiki as Young Men Revolution Movement. Kenya, according to them, means Kenya National Youth Association.

A list of all sect members was found in the same hideout.

Besides having secret hideouts in Nairobi, the sect has a farm in Laikipia District, where its “state house” is located.

In addition, the sect, defectors say, has cells in Riverside in the city centre, Mwiki, Kayole, Lunga Lunga, Kawangware, Githurai Kimbo, Juja, Rongai and Mukuru kwa Reuben, among other places.

It also has hideouts in Mombasa, Murang’a, Nakuru, Nyeri and Laikipia, plus a poultry farm in Kitengela.

The cell in Riverside, referred to as Bargation, a source said, is the most dangerous for Bargation means there is no bargain over death.

Defectors say the sect had also given them an amnesty until January 2004 to return to the group. It was after the amnesty passed that the spate of murders began.

In the meantime, the defectors say, the sect was studying how serious the Government is about wiping it out.

The defectors also expressed fear that there is no actual law banning the sect since its members are arrested and then released without charge. Those who are bailed, they say, come out and kidnap or kill their accusers so no evidence against them can be given.

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