Mungiki back on Kenyan streets

March 5, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 5 – Mungiki sect members made good their threat on Thursday when they staged mass protests in various parts of the country to press for the sacking of Police Commissioner Major General Hussein Ali.

Transport was paralysed in Nairobi, Thika and parts of Rift Valley which police said were the worst hit areas.

In Thika, two people identified by police as suspected Mungiki sect members were stoned to death as they blocked commuters from boarding vehicles at the bus terminus.

“This demonstration has caused a lot of anguish to the public, but we are urging them to stop lynching Mungiki suspects. They should always hand them over to us,” Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe said.

Mr Kiraithe and Nairobi Provincial deputy Police Chief Julius Ndegwa were among senior officers who led security operations in Kikuyu, Dagoreti and Kawangware in the outskirts of the city where illegal road blocks were erected.

“A security operation against this illegal gang is going on and we are definitely going to get them all. We are also looking for their organisers,” Mr Kiraithe said.

On the main highway from Nairobi to Nakuru, a truck driver was forced to block the road at about 5 am before the gang members fled with his car keys.

Traffic police diverted traffic to one side of the dual carriage-way.

The truck driver told Capital News that he was confronted by over 30 young men, armed with machetes, who ordered him to block the road.

“They were in the middle of the road and there was nothing I could do, they ordered me to block the road and then they fled with they keys. We were just left there with my loader,” the driver Peter Mwangi said.

In Dagoreti, suspected Mungiki sect members engaged the police in cat and mouse chase, often blocking the roads leading to Kikuyu, Kawangware and Waithaka.

“We are fighting for our rights because the police have been harassing us. They have killed many of our people and that is why we want our justice,” a man who was among dozens of youth blocking the road in Waithaka said.

Public transport vehicles were not operating in Kayole, Dandora, Kariobangi, Karuri, Kiambu, Thika and Banana until at about 3 pm when they slowly resumed normal operations.

Police announced that they had arrested 56 suspected Mungiki sect members who participated in the Thursday mass protests.

The number of those arrested was likely to increase because the operation was still going on by 6 pm.

Oscar Foundation Executive Director Kamau King’ara who organised the Thursday protests said they were aimed at highlighting the plight of families of over 1,000 people allegedly killed by the police on suspicion of being Mungiki sect members.

“Hundreds of families have been suffering. Many of them lost their relatives to police bullets while others were killed by the police in unclear circumstances. That is why we organised these demonstrations,” he said and threatened to sue Government Spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua for linking him to the outlawed group.

In a press conference on Thursday, Dr Mutua had told reporters that Oscar Foundation had been identified as one of the organisations funding activities of the outlawed grouping and announced it would be deregistered.

“I have heard about the accusations made in a press conference by Dr Mutua and I am going to engage a lawyer to take up the matter. This time he will not get away with it,” he said.

The Kenya National Youth Alliance (KENYA), a political wing of Mungiki denied it was involved in organising the protests but admitted its members were in support of the protests’ cause.

“We did not organise the protests but as a party, we fully support Oscar Foundation because they are fighting for the rights of the people,” the party’s Spokesman Njuguna Gitau said.



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