After a weekend of bloody clashes with police, the Mungiki sect yesterday called for dialogue with the government and an end to violence.
Sect officials said yesterday they were tired of accusations of seeking to violently overthrow the government and of the deaths, injuries and destruction suffered in violent skirmishes with the police in the past.
They claimed three members were shot and several either injured or arrested by riot police who confronted them in Thika and at Githurai, a suburb on the northern edge of Nairobi.
Police on the other hand welcomed the apparent change of heart and confirmed that three adherents were arrested during skirmishes at Githurai on Sunday.
"They are welcome (for dialogue)," said deputy police spokesman Dola Indidis, "Hakuna mtu anataka vita (Nobody prefers violence)."
In the violence at Githurai, riot police faced off with hundreds of rampaging sect followers returning from a baptism ceremony at a nearby dam.
Earlier, police sources at Kasarani said, the sect faithful had battled with touts in the area.
"Several cars had their windscreens smashed at the roundabout before we moved in," said the police source.
The sect coordinator, Mr Ibrahim Ndura Waruinge accused the touts whom he alleged were Kanu youths in disguise, of being criminals.
Mr Waruinge alleged the touts operated an office in the area from where they "torture residents in the name of ensuring security."
Several people on both sides-touts and Mungiki as well as passers-by were injured in both confrontations.
Meanwhile the day before, police engaged hundreds of sect members in day-long running battles in Thika Town.
Thika police boss, Mr Peter Muthike said a mob estimated at a thousand had congregated at Kiandutu slums in what he referred to as an ordination ceremony.
Mr Muthike said the sect members were ferried to the scene in three lorries and a matatu.
The police lobbed teargas, baton charged the followers and fired in the air to scare them as they kept regrouping to attack the police.
"Oathing" paraphernalia that included 10 gourds, 20 decorated (in Mungiki colours) sticks, several flywhisks, cow horns were recovered from the sect members, added Mr Muthike.
He claimed the mob also attempted to torch a police post under construction within the slums during the riots that occurred between 11am till evening.
Mr Waruinge told the Nation yesterday, "The government is using our brothers to attack us over allegations we are violent. It should be reconciliatory rather than using guns on us."
He said their meetings often disrupted by riot police "are peaceful and prayer sessions and not sinister as alleged." .
Mungiki Movement (Kenya) Updates 2001
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