NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 5 – Two suspected members of the outlawed Mungiki sect were killed by members of the public on Thursday when the gang made good on protest plans pressing for the resignation of Kenya’s Police Chief Major General Hussein Ali.,
The duo were cornered in Thika town after they were found blocking matatus from going their rounds, attempting to paralyse public transport.
Thousands of commuters were left stranded in Nairobi and Central Provinces and several businesses remained closed as members of the sect took to the streets albeit in stealthy fashion.
In Thika, irate members of the public stoned them to death.
“I would like to assure you that we have deployed police very heavily. We have a lot of police in plain clothes monitoring the situation,” Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe said in response to the security threat.
The sect is protesting the alleged extra-judicial killings of their members by police and is demanding the removal of Major Gen Ali.
By 10am, Mungiki adherents had instilled enough fear in the residents of Nyeri, Kiambu and Nyandarua who have been victims in the past.
Infamous for torturing their victims before a signature beheading, the sheer terror of what mayhem the youth could unleash kept public service vehicle (PSV) operators from venturing into their routes in the two provinces.
Meanwhile, roads in Dandora, Kayole, Kitengela, Banana and Kiambu were blocked by the sect members who erected barriers and lit bonfires.
Matatu operators who often bear the brunt of the illegal sect’s rage grounded their vehicles for fear of attack. The gang usually charge the PSV operators illegal levies, sometimes more than Sh200 for ‘protection’.
In Kitengela, police clashed with a group of suspected sect members, who attempted to set one vehicle ablaze.
Elsewhere, witnesses said that six long distance trucks on the Nairobi-Naivasha highway fell into the hands of the sect members who ripped their tyres apart. A major traffic jam ensued.
A special team of officers from Nairobi were deployed to Kiambu, Nyeri and Murang’a on Wednesday, the perceived strongholds of the gang that largely hails from the Central Kenya highlands.
Through their spokesman Njuguna Gitau, members of the illegal sect vowed to stage countrywide protests on Thursday and Friday to press for the sacking of the Police Commissioner, alleging that his men have been involved in the execution of their members.
But the Police Force defended itself against accusations of overstepping the law when dealing with criminals and said it would not relent in maintaining law and order.
Mr Kiraithe said the Force would not back down on its current strategies to fight crime, despite a United Nations report that accused officers of abusing the rights of those who fell into their hands.
The spokesman hit out at a preliminary report by Special Rapporteur Phillip Alston, which called for the resignation of the Police Commissioner and the Attorney General over alleged executions by the police.
“You can bring 10 Alstons (here) but the rights of Kenyans, the freedoms of Kenyans to move, will not be compromised. I’m telling criminals that things will be very bad for them,” he warned.
Speaking on Capital In The Morning (Capital FM’s Breakfast Show), Mr Kiraithe said Kenyans must support the force in fighting crime.
“You cannot keep a snake in your house, continue tolerating the same and when it starts biting you cry foul. Kenyans should say no to crime. Nothing can happen to a population that they have not allowed to happen.”