Police rule out talks with Mungiki

May 22, 2009 12:00 am

, NYAHURURU, Kenya, May 22 – Police said on Thursday that they will not negotiate with Mungiki sect leaders who have accused them of harassment in the ongoing crackdown on its members.

An Assistant Commissioner of Police Henry Ondiek, who is based in Nyandarua District, told off sympathisers of the outlawed group and said that officers were under instructions to ‘deal ruthlessly with them’.

“We will deal ruthlessly with the members of the outlawed sect and any other unlicensed groups, who are out to commit crimes in the country. We will not negotiate with them,” he said at the re-launch of the community policing project at the Ol Kalou trading centre.

Mr Ondiek said leaders who were campaigning for dialogue with members of the sect were mistaken and should be investigated for trying to protect illegal gangs.

“The leaders sympathising with them should declare their interest and they need to be investigated,” he said, while warning vigilante groups of dire consequences over their activities.

“Vigilante groups should not assume the responsibility of the police. They should instead work with us and tell us who the criminals are, but not taking the law unto their hands,” he said.

Lately, cases of suspected Mungiki sect members being lynched by vigilante groups has shot up particularly in Central Province.

Last month, up to 15 suspected Mungiki sect members were hacked or stoned to death by vigilante groups, raising tensions between the sect adherents and local residents.

As a result, Mungiki sect members re-grouped and retaliated, killing 29 people, many of them vigilantes, police said.

Up to 100 suspects, including Mungiki founder Maina Njenga have since been arrested and charged for the gruesome murders, according to officers.

President Mwai Kibaki has repeatedly ordered the police to deal decisively with the gang members to help save the country from the escalating insecurity.

Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti recently put on notice politicians and businessman thought to be financing Mungiki activities.

“We will name and shame them and they will be prosecuted for their crimes,” he told a news conference two weeks ago, but little has been heard on the progress of his directive.

A security meeting called by the Police chief Maj Gen Mohammed Hussein Ali at Vigilance House resolved that Provincial Police chiefs in affected regions should come up with unpredictable strategies to fight the gang.

The meeting brought together John M’mbijiwe (Central), Njue Njagi (Nairobi) and Rift Valley’s Joseph Ashimala.

Capital News reliably established that the meeting resolved to have special units formed to deal with the gang.

“The unit is already in place gathering intelligence on the activities of the sect members. They are mainly following up on their leaders in divisions, districts and even in the villages,” a source said.


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