Arrest Reported in Kenya Mungiki Beheading Spree

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Police arrested a suspected leader of an outlawed Kenyan group blamed for a string of beheadings and fatal shootings this year, the man’s family said Wednesday.

Ten officers in a special squad formed to combat the Mungiki gang arrested Njoroge Kamunya, in his mid-40s, at his home in Ongata Rongai, 12 miles from Nairobi, said a cousin, who insisted on speaking anonymously for fear of reprisals from the authorities.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe refused to comment on the report.

The gang has been accused of killing 15 police officers from April through June and 27 civilians during the year, many of them in beheadings.

Kamunya has been on the run since April, when police issued an arrest warrant for him and two other men who have since been arrested.

Mungiki

Mungiki is an outlawed, quasi-political/religious cult in Kenya.

It is a criminal gang that has attacked women for wearing pants or mini-skirts, imposed female circumcision by force, murdered defectors, and raided police stations.

Mungiki attack matatu (public commuter vehicles) drivers by extorting money or taking over lucrative routes.

 

Mungiki was once a quasi-political sect that drew thousands of unemployed youth from the Kikuyu community, Kenya’s largest tribe. Its name means “multitude” in Kikuyu, and members promote traditional Kikuyu practices, including female genital mutilation.

The government outlawed the group in 2002 after its members beheaded 21 people in a Nairobi slum following a turf war with a rival group called the Taliban, which drew its members from the Luo community.

Kamunya’s younger brother, 36-year-old Maina Njenga, was one of Mungiki’s founders but later publicly denounced it. He was jailed for five years in June for illegal gun possession and drug selling.

At least 112 people have died during a police crackdown on the group over the past three months.

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Source

(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
AP, via The Guardian, USA
Aug. 22, 2007
Tom Odula
www.guardian.co.uk

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This post was last updated: Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 1:44 PM, Central European Time (CET)