No letup as Mungiki mayhem continues

April 15, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, April 15 – Three people were killed Tuesday morning, a day after countrywide battles between the police and the sect adherents claimed the lives of 14 people.

One civilian was hacked to death and his body later set ablaze in Ngara, while police shot dead two suspected outlaws in Industrial area.

In Ngara, nine cars were burnt crisp in the dawn attacks while one bus has been torched near the Mbagathi Hospital.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said they have stepped up security across the country in a bid to protect human life and property.

"We have intensified patrols in the affected areas,” he said.

The spokesman also said that owners of public service vehicles should not keep their cars off the roads, even as some operators refused to work fearing their vehicles would be attacked.

"Instead they should come out and give us information on the whereabouts of those threatening to burn them," he added.

More than 30 vehicles were burnt on Monday when Mungiki members erected blazing roadblocks in Nairobi, Central and Rift Valley provinces.

They accused police of killing their leader’s Maina Njenga’s wife, who was carjacked and killed last week along with her driver.

The sect members are also demanding the release of Njenga, who is serving a five year jail term at the Naivasha Maximum Security Prison for possessing an unlicensed firearm and drugs.

Kiraithe said police were dealing with a criminal cartel and the clashes were unrelated to the political violence that rocked the country earlier this year following disputed presidential elections.

Mungiki spokesman Njuguna Gitau said the sect that was banned in 2002 will continue to press for their rights despite what they call police brutality.

"We shall not relent. We are not cowards and the police should know that well … We shall not be cowed by the police brutality. We shall continue demanding for our rights," Gitau said on Monday.

Since March last year, the Mungiki gang has killed dozens of people, in murders characterised by a string of beheadings, mainly in the Nairobi slums and in central Kenya.

Police then carried out a massive operation, mostly centred on the Mathare slum, where the scores of gang members and arrested several others.

Monday’s attack by the Mungiki took place in Dandora, Kariobangi, Embakasi and parts of Thika road, where public transport was subsequently paralysed for the better part of Tuesday.

Following the orgy of violence, matatu operators opted to ground their vehicles for fear of similar attacks, forcing commuters in some parts of the city to walk to work.


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