Six people were arrested and an unknown number injured yesterday when members of theoutlawed Mungiki sect clashed with the police along Parliament Road, Nairobi. Members were protesting at the alleged police killing of one of its followers at the Githunguri centre, Maragwa District, three weeks ago. The sectarians, who carried the coffin of Mr Ngige Wanyeki's body, started their procession from the Kariokor roundabout and marched along Racecourse Road and Haile Selassie Avenue to Parliament Buildings, where they planned to seek audience with MPs. Armed anti-riot police, who had been trailing them, threw tear gas into the crowd and fired rubber bullets, before charging with batons and truncheons, bludgeoning some . The others scattered in all directions, leaving the coffin and the body outside the gates to Parliament. The members fought back with stones, while others intercepted tear gas canisters and threw them back at the police. The police loaded the abandoned coffin into their lorry and took it to the City Mortuary. Family members of the dead man later visited the police and disowned the sect, saying they had nothing to do with the demo. The body was released to them and they proceeded for Ol Kalou, Nyandarua District, for the planned burial.
Earlier, the sect's leader, Mr Ibrahim Ndura Waruinge, accused the police of targeting his members through harassment and "extra-judicial killings". Mr Waruinge claimed that, so far, police had killed 20 sectraians. He said Mr Wanyeki was killed when police charged at Mungiki members holding "peaceful prayers". Police alleged they were dispersing an unlicensed meeting, when a stray bullet hit Mr Wanyeki, killing him. Mr Waruinge disputed this and said a post-mortem report had revealed Mr Wanyeki was hit by three police bullets.
"This is the last Mungiki member killed by the police we are going to bury.
If it happens again, we shall take action," he said. He said the sect would not be cowed into abandoning its mission.
NAIROBI - Kenyan security forces used tear gas and batons on Wednesday to disperse members of a banned religious sect who had gathered outside parliament in the capital to protest police brutality.
Followers of Mungiki, a shadowy sect preaching a return to traditional African values, placed a coffin, which they said contained the body of a fellow member killed by police earlier this month, outside the presidential gate of parliament.
Police then moved in, firing rounds of tear gas and launching baton charges at the protesters as bemused tourists looked on from the balconies of a nearby luxury hotel.
Police spokesman Dola Ndidis said it was too early to establish the number of injuries but confirmed that six sect members had been arrested.
Mungiki accuses the police of discriminating against it, saying that security forces have killed at least 20 of its members so far this year.
Little is known of the sect, which is growing in popularity, especially among impoverished Kenyans, prompting alarm within the government.
Mungiki is believed to have emerged in the 1980s. Its male followers, many of whom wear dreadlocks, see themselves as sons of the Mau Mau movement which fought a violent rebellion against British colonists in the 1950s.
While initially following the animist traditions of the Kikuyu tribe, the leadership of the sect converted to Islam last year and called for the implementation of sharia, the Muslim code of religious law.
Nairobi - Riot police on Wednesday tear-gassed some 300 members of Kenya's Mungiki religious sect who were staging a demonstration in the capital against the police killing last week of one of their members. The victim was mistaken by police for a robber and shot dead. The sect members, carrying a coffin with the body of the slain man, marched through the city to parliament, where the House was in session. There they were confronted by police, who fired teargas, forcing them to flee and causing them to abandon the coffin in front of parliament. Police later took the body back to the city mortuary. The Mungiki sect, whose members normally wear dread-locked hair and who advocate a return to African traditional values, mainly support the Kenyan opposition and have often clashed with police. Kenyan security forces last weekend confronted heavily armed robbers in bloody clashes in the capital, which left at least 14 people dead, including four policemen. The slain Mungiki member was mistaken for one of the robbers during the shootouts.
Police have killed a Mungiki sect member in Maragwa.
The officers opened fire at a charging Mungiki crowd at the Githunguri trading centre, where about 200 sect members were meeting on Sunday.
The police alleged that they were dispersing an unlicensed gathering.
Central provincial police boss Enock Cheserek said the members pelted the police with stones. "Police shot in the air to disperse the charging crowd and it was then that a stray bullet hit one of them, killing him," Mr Cheserek explained.
The slain man has not been identified. The Mungiki crowd fled and the officers allegedly recovered simis, rungus and pangas from the scene.
Mr Cheserek claimed that many at the meeting were from Nairobi.
Last year, a Mungiki sect meeting in Kiria-ini turned fatal when the crowd charged at police officers and injured one of them.
The officer died later on while undergoing treatment at the Kiria-ini Mission Hospital.
Mungiki Movement (Kenya) Updates 2001
[Home Page] [Cos'è il CESNUR] [Biblioteca del CESNUR] [Testi e documenti] [Libri] [Convegni]
[Home Page] [About CESNUR] [CESNUR Library] [Texts & Documents] [Book Reviews] [Conferences]