Five members of the Mungiki sect are being held at Central Police Station in Nakuru.
Nakuru deputy police boss Wachira Mathenge said yesterday that officers are hunting for sect officials who have gone underground.
Meanwhile, the sect's coordinator for the Rift Valley region, Mr Hussein Kimani Ruo, telephoned the Nation in Nakuru from his hideout and condemned the arrest of the five youths.
Mr Ruo said the five persons were arrested on Friday morning as they were chatting with friends at the second clothes open air market next to the town's main bus terminus.
He gave their names as Mr John Maina, Mr Peter Njoroge Kamunyu, Mr Nelson Munyiri Macharia, a Mr Kiarie and a Mr Njuguna.
Mr Ruo said that police officers had trailed the five who were driving in a saloon which is also being held at the police station.
The official said no amount of intimidation from the government will deter members of the sects from persuing their ideals.
The sect official said the government was in a state of panick following decision by some of the sect's national officials to convert to Islam.
"I am calling upon muslim faithful to condemn the government for harassing mungiki followers for no apparent reason," Mr Ruo said.
Mr Ruo said he had gone underground after he received information that some officers attached to the Flying Squad in conjuction with some police reservists of Asian origin were looking for him.
He warned that Mungiki followers will not sit and watch as some members of the Asian community are used to harass them.
"If any of our leaders is arrested we will call upon our followers to advocate for the eviction of the Asian community from the country", Mr Ruo said.
A man and a woman were part of a mob, allegedly led by Mungiki followers, which attacked and stripped six women at the weekend for wearing trousers.
The attack in Kayole has been widely condemned.
Yesterday the estate was one of many in the city raided by police following the series of recent mob attacks and robberies.
During the swoops one man, said to have been armed with a Colt revolver and six rounds of ammunition, was killed by a mob in Kayole as he attempted to flee from police.
Arms, electronic goods, a car engine, thousand litres of traditional brew and a police uniform were seized in the raids.
They went ahead as public clamour grew for the arrest of alleged Mungiki members who publicly whipped and stripped naked the six women.
Film of the assault was screened on Nation TV and the attackers were clearly shown. In one sequence they waved the women's trousers in triumph.
Callers to the Nation newsroom demanded to know why the police had not yet arrested such easily identifiable people.
The police swoops concentrated on estates in the Buru Buru police area where the Mungiki sect has been particularly active, police said.
They lasted for more than five hours yesterday.
Nairobi provincial police boss Geoffrey Muathe said the operation would continue.
The action followed a series robberies throughout the city and came only four days after President Moi complained during his Kenyatta Day speech about insecurity in the country.
Mr. Muathe said they arrested 281 suspects in Kayole and four other major estates covered by Buru Buru police station. In addition 89 were seized in Mukuru Kayaba slums, 39 in Kawangware, 74 in Kasarani, 37 in Kangemi, 20 in Lang'ata and 238 people within the central division - a total of 778 arrests.
In the central division, he added, they recovered police uniform and netted 915 litres of chang'aa. Twenty drums of busaa and dozens of motor vehicle parts were seized in Mukuru.
The suspects were seized in Ziwani, Kariokor, River Road, Nyama Kima and Kongo village in Lang'ata.
He said that police were not going to allow the continued brewing of chang'aa and busaa.
Meanwhile, as police announced that one man believed to be in Mungiki had been held on suspicion of having helped to strip the two women in Kayole, officials of the sect itself distanced themselves from the attack.
Co-ordinator of the sect, Mr. Ibrahim Ndura Waruinge, said the incident was "unfortunate and inhumane" and added that the movement did not support violence against women.
He said allegations of harassment of the women by members of the sect were propaganda by the government and the press.
He also said the Federation of Women Lawyers (Fida) should "leave us alone" and complained that they supported prostitution and male and female homosexuality.
Mr. Waruinge claimed those who stripped the women were members of a sect, Kenda Muiyuru (Nine Kikuyu clans) who wear dreadlocks and are Kikuyu extremists.
He said women members of Mungiki wear trousers just like the women who were stripped, and said they respected the rights of other people to wear what they wanted.
"While the incident was happening, we were far away fighting the police in the Njiru Post area," he told the Nation.
Those quick to condemn the stripping included Mr. Mohammed Maluki, chairman of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) in Maragua District.
He said Mungiki should not be associated with Islam. "There can never exist sub-sections in Islam and one is either a Muslim or not," he said, adding Islam could never condone such barbaric activities as stripping women.
He accused Mungiki of misusing the hospitality of Islam to execute their suspect activities and tarnish the reputation of the faith.
The government should take stern action against Mungiki before the sect causes tremendous damage to the country and her citizens.
The regional director of United Nations Development Fund for Women, Dr Laketch Dirasse, also condemned the incident and said society should respect women.
Dr Dirasse was speaking during a Press conference on Women Peace and Security at UN headquarters, Gigiri.
Cabinet Minister Joseph Kamotho renewed calls for the Church to help counter Mungiki.
He described the incidence as terrible and urged the Church to encourage young people to avoid joining the sect.
The Local Government minister added: "The time has come for the Church to condemn the practices of the sect which has been promoting outdated cultural beliefs."
The Mungiki sect will not be allowed to hold unlicensed meetings, Police Commissioner Philemon Abong'o has said.
Mr Abong'o gave instructions to the police to arrest sect members who violate the directive.
"I have given fresh instructions: The sect members should be dealt with accordingly," he said.
Mr Abong'o said the force was not going to allow the sect to conduct ''criminal-like'' activities.
He was particularly concerned about Sunday's violence in Kayole, Nairobi, where six women were stripped naked.
He was speaking to journalists at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Office of the President Minister Shariff Nassir said the government's crackdown on Mungiki followers would continue.
Mr Nassir was speaking to the Press yesterday in his office after presenting a TV set to administrators of Rang'ala Children's Home, Ugunja, Siaya.
But police spokesman Peter Kimanthi, clarified that the crackdown was "targeting criminal elements, not organisations".
He said the general impression that the police were cracking down on the Mungiki was not correct.
In Central Province, Provincial Commissioner Peter Kiilu banned the movement in the region. "I have instructed my officers to hunt them down and arrest all of them," he said.
Declaring Central Province "a no-go zone" for Mungiki followers, Mr Kiilu said the activities of the sect were illegal.
The government would use its powers to ensure that the sect's followers held no public meeting in the area, he said.
He accused the sect of infringing on the rights of Kenyans and advised that it seeks registration first before conducting its activities.
Mr Kiilu was speaking to the Nation in his office.
The Council of Imams and Preachers warned of bloodshed unless the government and churches stopped harassing Mungiki members.
The imams, led by Sheikh Ali Shee, claimed that a plot had been hatched to derail Mungiki activities.
"The government is courting bloodshed by continuously subjecting Mungiki followers to harassment and it should learn a lesson from what is happening in Israel now," he said.
Meanwhile, the three people pictured in yesterday's front page of the Nation waving trousers taken off women on Sunday, were yesterday identified by Mungiki coordinator, Mr Ibrahim Waruinge as Mr Evans Nyakundi, Ms Catherine Nyawira and Ms Jackline Mueni.
Mr Nyakundi was a mason at Kayole, and usually whiles time away at a busaa den near the Mugendi Stage.
Ms Mueni allegedly hangs around changaa dens in the area, and is a close ally of a powerful Kanu youthwinger in the estate.
Ms Nyawira sells mitumba clothes at Gikomba market, and is a friend of Mueni. She has rented a single room near Kayole's Masimba Stage, where the incident occurred.
"These people are well known, even to the police at the Kayole Police Post and Buru Buru Police Station as they are always being arrested for this or that offence," said Mr Waruingi.
He said the three are not members of Mungiki, reiterating that the sect does not support violence against women.
"If the police decline to arrest them, we shall track them down and hand them over to the authorities," he said.
Mr Waruingi said the ongoing swoops in Nairobi were aimed at "spreading terror and abetting extortion by the police."
He denied blaming the stripping incident on another hard-line traditional Kikuyu sect, Kenda Muiyuru (Nine Kikuyu Clans) as reported in yesterday's Nation.
The above trio were captured on Nation TV, where in one sequence, they waved the women's trousers in triumph.
The incident has sparked off public outrage, with several Kenyans demanding that the police arrest the identifiable trio.
However, the Buru Buru police boss Mr Nomwel Mochache could not confirm whether the faces in the three pictures were of those identified by Mungiki.
"We have not arrested any of the three. My people are still in the field investigating," he said.
He said only one person, arrested on Sunday, has been nabbed over the incident.
The imams said they were concerned by increased cases of harassment of Mungiki followers who converted to Islam especially incidents of them being beaten up and their holy books of Koran being confiscated and burnt while conducting prayers.
The imams took issue with the Minister in the Office of the President, Mr Marsden Madoka and Northern Eastern Provincial Commissioner, Mr Maurice Makhanu, for what they termed as their "anti-Islam activities".
"Mr Madoka being a Government minister has demonstrated that he is being used to fight Mungiki and Mr Makhanu being a Christian is serving the interest of churches," Sheikh Omar said.
The imams demanded for the immediate removal of Mr Makhanu from Northern Eastern Province.
The imams also accused a section of the media of siding with forces which are against Mungiki saying some newspapers were writing malicious reports against them.
However, the imams cautioned Mungiki supporters against involving themselves in activities that were against the law and religious teachings.
Police in Kenya have arrested hundreds of people suspected of being members of the outlawed Mungiki sect following a weekend incident in which women were stripped naked for wearing trousers.
Acts of depravity and rape under the guise of defending African traditions should not be allowed
The group beat up and stripped six women, dressed in trousers accusing them of dressing improperly.
Members of the controversial sect had been barred by police from holding prayers in a city estate, Kayole, on Sunday before they turned their anger on the women.
Police used tear gas to disperse the group as they broke and looted property from a nearby church.
There has been public concern over activities of Mungiki sect which claims to be a religious organisation whose doctrines are based on traditional practises of the Kikuyus - Kenya's majority tribe.
The attacks against women triggered widespread condemnation from across the country, with many people expressing disgust and anger.
Kenyans expressed outrage at the sect's attack on women
The National Convention Executive Council (NCEC) - a civil society organisation lobbying for political change - said acts of depravity and rape under the guise of defending African traditions should not be allowed to happen.
"Mungiki or anybody else cannot arrogate to themselves the role of moral, dress or cultural policemen,'' the council said.
The provincial administration in the capital, Nairobi, has vowed to deal firmly with members of the sect.
The city's provincial commissioner, Cyrus Maina, described Mungiki followers as "a bunch of criminals" who were subverting the administration under the guise of religion.
Facing Mount Kenya
Mungiki has in the recent past clashed with the authorities as attempts by its members to hold meetings often ended up in chaos.
President Moi has not hidden his distaste for the group, terming it as anti-Christian.
The group has astounded many with its advocacy of such practises as female circumcision and hooliganism.
One of Mungiki's doctrines is to face Mount Kenya whenever they pray - Kikuyus believe the mountain is the sacred abode of their god, locally known as Ngai.
Various institutions and individuals yesterday strenuously condemned attacks and harassment meted out on women by members of the Mungiki sect in Nairobi at the weekend.
The sect members turned rowdy after police barred them from holding prayers on the Kayole Estate on Sunday. They vented their anger on women passersby dressed in trousers.
Yesterday, the National Convention Executive Council, the Federation of Women Lawyers and the Kenya Women's Political Caucus condemned the thuggery as shameful and shocking, and called for the arrest of those involved in the attack.
The NCEC also condemned Mungiki's attacks against some sections of the Christian Church and the Freemasons.
"Whereas the NCEC respects and defends the right of Mungiki and its voluntary followers to practice their religion as they please, we also believe that our society should neither accept nor tolerate the intrusion and abuse of the rights, liberties and dignity of other Kenyans by any group, creed, religion or cult," the group said in a statement signed by three officials.
The council asked Kenyans to reject acts of violence regardless of the perpetrators.
"Mungiki or anybody else cannot arrogate to themselves the role of moral, dress or cultural policemen," the statement said.
It added that African tradition respects and venerates women, contrary to the view Mungiki is pushing.
The statement, signed by Kepta Ombati, Odhiambo Oyoko and Cyprian O'Nyamwamu, asked Kenyans to reject all acts of violence "in their various manifestations".
In a statement signed by Mrs Phoebe Asiyo, the Kenya Women's Political Caucus described the Mungiki actions as dehumanising and a gross violation of the women's human rights.
"We note with deep concern that the Mungiki sect has continuously engaged in these primitive, barbaric and heinous activities with impunity, culminating in this latest incident," said Mrs Asiyo.
The Caucus urged the Police Commissioner to intervene and ensure women are protected from such "callous behaviour".
Fida demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of those involved in the assault.
"While members of Mungiki should enjoy the freedom of association, they must, however, not be allowed to terrorise and impose their will on innocent members of society," Fida executive director Jane Kiragu said.
Failure to arrest the suspects, Ms Kiragu said, would be to abet heinous acts of violence.
The Mungiki group arrived in the Kayole area at about 5pm on Sunday, but police attempted to disperse them. They overpowered the officers and started stripping and beating the women.
Some women members of the sect were in the forefront of the attack.
Singing traditional songs and occasionally snuffing tobacco, the group of about 400 marches on match boxes and petrol in hand. Ahead lies the Freemasons building on Nyerere Road, Nairobi. "We will burn it down", they chant. "It promotes devil worship."
A few weeks earlier, the object of their fury was the Muranga Police Station... and before that the Nyahururu Station, where scores of sect members were locked up for unlicensed assembly and, allegedly, conducting illegal oaths.
When the sect is not making headlines for advocating female circumcision, it is professing a mass conversion to Islam. No wonder Cabinet Minister Joseph Kamotho recently urged the churches to help counter it.
Said Kamotho: "Time has come for the Church to condemn the practices of this sect which is promoting outdated cultural beliefs."
Meet the Mungiki sect. It is purpotedly a revolutionary group which "will realise its goal in two years".
The recent merger of its members with Muslims, says national co-ordinator Ibrahim Ndura Waruingi, "will hasten the realisation of this goal."
"Islam means submission to God, while Mungiki means the masses. In two years, we will have converted Kenya or at least three quarters of it to Mungiki," he says.
He adds that Mungiki has about four million members in the country and hundreds of co-ordinating units from the national to the locational level.
"Our aim is to spearhead African socialism. We have a duty to mobilise and bring economical, political and social changes in society so that the masses can control their destiny."
Other goals are to fight against bad governance and social ills facing the society and to establish a just nation.
Regarding the Freemasons building, Mr Waruingi earlier said: "It is only a matter of time. The halls must go... they must be destroyed." This was a declaration that infuriated security officials at a time Internal Security Minister Marsden Madoka had told Parliament the Government would tame the sect.
Question: Why doesn't Mungiki seek registration?
Answer: "We will never do that. We do not need to be registered by (this) Government which only abets poverty, insecurity, killings and social instability."
Mr Waruingi was reacting to Nairobi Provincial Commissioner Cyrus Maina's Moi Day challenge that the sect seeks registration "if it is transparent and has nothing to hide."
There are similarities between the pre-colonial Mau Mau Movement and Mungiki, Mr Wairungi says.
"We (Mungiki) have Mau Mau blood in us and our objectives are similar. The Mau Mau fought for land, freedom and religion... and so do we."
However, he says, the Mau Mau did not achieve their goals. "Kenya today is controlled by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Americans, the British and the Freemasons. It can't initiate its own development and has sold all its properties to Westerners in the name of liberalisation."
He describes pluralism as an American ideology which does not guarantee African development. "It has only promoted tribalism, nepotism and individualism, rather than socialism."
Mr Waruingi blames the present system for allegedly helping the spread of Aids and devil worship in Kenya. He denies that his movement perpetrates insecurity and administers illegal oaths.
Advocates of the materialist theory claim that revolutions are not created in people's minds but out of adverse socio-economic conditions. And on this basis, they argue, the Mau Mau liberation war was started in the early Fifties by the Kenyan peasantry after it became disillusioned with the colonial oppressors and the African elite, who were compromised by the colonists.
Fifty years later, Kenya's history seems set to repeat itself. Mungiki a shadowy movement has been organising itself quietly and systematically as the Government downplays its threat.
Like the materialists, Mr Waruingi argues that the Mungiki was actually the creation of the present social and economic crises in the country.
He says the Mau Mau took up arms only after the colonial government harassed them and forced them into the bush.
"Nobody actually intends to fight but one does so after being provoked. The more you persecute and oppress a people, the more you will turn them into militants. The Government has contributed to the birth of Mungiki through its high-handedness," he says.
Mr Waruingi said that after Mungiki was accused of forcibly circumcising women and administering oaths, it invited the Government to its functions "to prove that we have no intention of causing chaos."
But, he says, by declaring war on the Freemasons, some top religious figures and Government officials started issuing threats to the movement.
"Why did an individual push the Kirima report on devil worship under the table instead of making it public?" asks Waruingi.
"It is clear to us that the probe was ordered only to find out how many devil worshippers' secrets had become laeked."
Waruingi accuses Mr Madoka of criminalising Mungiki and says that no woman has gone to court to accuse the sect of forcibly circumcising her.
Question: Who are the real leaders of the sect?
Answer: "The movement was started by God. He is our chairman and decision maker..."
Lately, Mungiki has demonstrated a fearlessness and militancy that alarm other citizens and leaders.
Its raid on a police station in Murang'a recently was an ominous sign, as was its fight with the police in Nyahururu a few months ago. Then, too, was the beating of police officers in Kirinyaga and the numerous clashes with law enforcers in Nairobi. If Mungiki members can snatch a gun from a police officer in Murang'a, what can stop them from firing it to defend themselves?
Meanwhile, the Mungiki group has been credited with two positive things, bringing order to matatu operations in Kasarani area, Nairobi, and being at the forefront of the campaign for a people-driven constitution reform. At the Kasarani area, no thefts have been reported since the sect members started their operations. The group has flushed out several thugs and juveniles.
'Islam means submission to God, while Mungiki means the masses. In two years, Kenyans will submit to our ideals...'
Twenty-six Mungiki members were yesterday jailed for three months each.
This brings to 51 the number of the sect members convicted in the recent past. Another 25 were lucky to escape custodial sentences after another court found them guilty but warned them to keep the peace for six months.
Embakasi MP David Mwenje was earlier charged along with the first batch of 25 with disrupting court proceedings in Machakos on Tuesday.
He denied the charges and was released on a Sh20,000 bond. His case will come up for hearing on Monday.
Sentencing the 26 yesterday, Machakos Senior Resident Magistrate Praxidis.
Tororey warned that the court would not allow its operations to be disrupted by anybody.
"Who told you to turn law court precincts into a village controlled by hooligans. This is a serious offence and you are lucky to get away with a three-month sentence instead of three years," Ms Tororey told the suspects,.
who were unrepresented.
In mitigation, the 26 offenders asked for leniency, saying they had been transported to Machakos from Nairobi for the purpose of cheering Mr Mwenje during the hearing of his case.
Mr Mwenje is accused of inciting Nairobi City Council workers against Local Authorities Minister Joseph Kamotho. The employees had been demanding their delayed salaries.
The Mungiki members were given two weeks to appeal against the sentence.
Meanwhile, Mr Mwenje denied taking the sect members to Machakos.
The MP accused the Machakos District security team of wrongly labelling his supporters as belonging to Mungiki.
"These are my supporters and they have nothing to do with Mungiki. I blamethe Press and the administration for placing them where they do not belong," Mr Mwenje said soon after being released from custody.
His followers turned chaotic and later engaged the police in running battles, during which 51 of them, including Mr Mwenje, were arrested.
On Tuesday, Police Commissioner Philemon Abong'o warned that police would take severe action against Mungiki members.
Mr Abong'o said the force would not tolerate persistent criminal activities by the group.
"I warn Mungiki that their persistent criminal activities will not be tolerated. We shall deal firmly with any person who disobeys the law."
In the recent past, the sect's meetings have been disrupted by police.
The group has been accused of clandestinely attempting to arm themselves and raid police stations. Scores of followers have been arrested in the disruptions.
Last week, several sect members were arrested in Murang'a for being in possession of home-made guns and simis.
On Monday, some of the followers pulled down a building in Njiru, Nairobi alleging that it was a house of devil worshippers. An attempt to torch the Free Marsons was thwarted by police a week ago.
Mr Abong'o also said the force had drastically improved in arms recovery, arresting of criminals and detection of crime since a report on the assessment of the performance was finalised.
The report presented to the commissioner recently indicated the decay in the force as being behind in the rising crime.
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