67 suspected Mungiki sect members arrested

Police in Nyeri have arrested 67 suspected followers of the outlawed Mungiki sect.

The suspects were taken in on Saturday, moments after they paid their last respects to a colleague gunned down in Nairobi.

They had travelled to Kianjau Village, Mathira Division, Nyeri, to bury Wachira wa Wanjiru, who was shot dead in Nairobi by police officers. Central Police boss, Njue Njagi, said security officers surrounded the homestead where the burial was taking place and netted all the suspects.

He said 67 men and women are being held at various police stations in Nyeri and Karatina.

The suspects, who were chanting Thai! Thai! (Peace! Peace!), performed their rituals, unaware that police officers were in the vicinity. The police chief called on members of the public to report any person who is suspected to be a member of the outlawed sect.

Meanwhile, an average of 15 youth are on daily basis arrested in Murang’a District on suspicions of belonging to the unregistered Mungiki sect. On Saturday, Murang’a Officer Commanding Police Division, Rose Wanjiru Mbae, said crackdown on the members has been intensified in all parts of the district.

On Friday, a 37-year-old Stephen Irungu, alias Kiunjuri, who has been on the most wanted list in connection with murders within Kahuro division, was shot dead as he attempted to flee from police officers he was leading to his accomplice’s house in Kianjogu Village.

Irungu was shot en route to the home of Mwangi Kihui, also on the wanted list, in connection with the death of Samuel Gathuku in February this year.

Mbae said, police dragnets have been set up in all bus terminus, where sect members extorting money from public service vehicles operators are not spared. At the same time, Murang’a District Commissioner, Kenneth Lusaka, has asked members of public to cooperate with the police if the war against the illegal sect was to be won.

He said residents of Kahuro division, who had been living in a state of fear, received the death of Irungu with joy. Lusaka said some prominent persons within Kianjogu Village had been forced to abandon their rural homes, due to fears over the increased sect activities.

Lusaka, who chairs the district security committee, said war on the sect would not be stopped until the members surrendered, or the Government security machinery flushed them out of their dens.

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The Standard, Kenya
May 7, 2006
Evelyne Ogutu and Boniface Gikandi

Religion News Blog posted this on Sunday May 7, 2006.
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