CESNUR - Center for Studies on New Religions directed by Massimo Introvigne

"Leader of brutal cult sees the Light"

by Dominic Wabala ("Daily Nation," December 03, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - He is the talk of Kamiti Maximum Security Prison. Ever since he converted to Christianity three weeks ago, Mr John Maina Njenga, the man police accuse of being the national chairman and spiritual leader of the outlawed Mungiki sect, has set tongues wagging in the prison.
Suspected Mungiki leader Maina Njenga under police guard.
He reportedly "saw the light" in a makeshift prayer house in the prison, watched by more than 50 inmates.
Those who were present say Mr Njenga was so touched by the sermon (delivered by a convicted criminal) that he stood up and gave a rousing testimony.
"I have accepted Jesus as my personal saviour and recognised that there is only one God capable of uniting all. No one else can do that. Traditional gods cannot," he is reported to have testified, to wild cheers from other inmates.
However, he stopped short of denouncing his link with Mungiki. The authorities consider Mr Njenga a very dangerous man. He is on trial over allegations of trafficking drugs and illegally possessing weapons.
Armed guard
At every appearance at the High Court, he is handcuffed and under armed guard. This week on Thursday as he was being led to the court's basement cells, four men tagged along, begging the warders to let them have a word with him.
Mungiki followers always attend hearings. In prison, where he is in remand, three young men said to be his bodyguards always accompany him, even to church.
Former Mungiki co-ordinator Ndura Waruinge also embraced Christianity and is now a pastor. The improvised church that Mr Njenga attends is in Block 'D', where suspects on capital offences – robbery with violence, murder, attempted robbery and treason – are held.
Over the past three weeks, Mr Njenga is reported to have attended church consistently. He has also been studying the Bible and asking many searching questions. He and nine others were arrested in February by officers from the General Service Unit at a palatial house in Kitengela. The house is still under guard.
Police allegedly found literature and paraphernalia associated with Mungiki and documents, including the constitution of the Kenya National Youth Alliance party.
In court on Wednesday and Thursday, Mr Njenga, who had been on the run for a year before his arrest, was dressed in a beige three-buttoned suit, a black shirt and striped necktie and could have been a lawyer about court.
What is curious is how Mr Njenga’s new faith is likely to influence Mungiki activities in the coming days.
Early this month, youth allied to the Kenya National Youth Alliance marched through the city streets demanding Mr Njenga’s release from prison. They said he was their leader and the only political prisoner being held by the Narc government.
At Kamiti, inmates told the Sunday Nation that Mr Njenga started showing an interest in the prison church and started attending services before confessing that he had finally found the truth. In his testimony, the long-time Mungiki leader denounced traditional gods and said there was only one God.
The incident is said to have attracted the interest of warders, but prison authorities are keeping a wary eye on Mr Njenga.
Prison sources wouldn't say whether extra security is being arranged for him. Two years ago, several former Mungiki followers who had denounced the sect for Christianity were brutally murdered. One victim had his head chopped off and dumped in the city centre.
The officer in charge of the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, Mr Peter Njuguna, confirmed that he had been informed of Mr Njenga’s "conversion". But he believes Mr Njenga could be pretending so as not to attract attention.
"He is a shrewd and cunning man who most people mistake for a slow thinker," the prison boss said.
Mr Njenga is said to be eagerly awaiting judgment in his case and baptism, which prison authorities say is conducted once a year.

"Kenya: MPs Condemn March By Outlawed Sect"

("East African Standard," November 8, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - Questions were being asked as to whether there is an unseen hand directing the violence in Mathare slums, which has claimed seven lives since it began on Sunday.
This happened as several hundred marchers, believed to belong to the outlawed Mungiki sect, took over Nairobi's streets Wednesday morning demanding the sacking of Police Commissioner Maj-Gen Hussein Mohamed Ali.
And politicians reacted furiously to the Mungiki march, which started at Uhuru Park and ended in Mathare.
The politicians wondered why the youths, associated with a group blamed for the Mathare deaths, could be allowed to assemble and march through the town.
At the same time, Ali announced a major crackdown on Mungiki adherents, and cancelled all public meetings in Nairobi. This includes one called by Mr Ndura Waruinge in Kibera this weekend.
Nine MPs, who quickly grouped at Parliament Buildings following the demo, accused the Government of abetting the killings by failing to contain the skirmishes.
They were Mr Otieno Kajwang' (Mbita), Mr Peter Odoyo (Nyakach), Mr William Omondi (Kasarani), Prof Ayiecho Olweny (Muhoroni), Mr Gor Sungu (Kisumu Town East), Dr Adhu Awiti (Karachuonyo) and Mr Owino Likowa (Migori).
Others were Mr Erick Nyamunga (Nyando), Dr Oburu Odinga (Bondo) and Mr Philip Okundi (Rangwe).
Stage being set for lawlessness
The legislators said they had information that the stage was being set for lawlessness to the extent that when certain politicians were assassinated, it would be blamed on prevalent insecurity.
But Government spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua warned against the politicisation of issues of law and order.
Police officers remove the body of a victim of the violence in Mathare 4A on Wednesday. Seven people have so far died in the skirmishes suspected to have been triggered by the outlawed Mungiki sect last Saturday. Picture by Jacob Otieno
Mutua said the Government would get to the bottom of the matter and do all it could to solve the problems in Mathare.
He said Government officers were doing all they could to resolve the issue by identifying both short and long-term solutions.
Tension was high in Mathare slums as the youths, brandishing the banned sect's flags, attempted to storm Pangani Police Station, where they were repulsed by police officers who fired at them.
Angry Mathare residents lynched one youth as the demonstrating group was forced back by General Service Unit officers deployed to restore calm in the troubled slum.
The GSU pursued the troublemakers and fired at them, turning the slum into a no-go zone for the better part of Wednesday.
Accusations reek of a hidden agenda
Wednesday's demo at Nairobi's Uhuru Park raised eyebrows, as it emerged that it had been licensed by the police under the banner of the Kenya National Youth Alliance, whose patron is Mr Maina Njenga, the Mungiki leader in police custody.
Nairobi Provincial Police Officer Mr King'ori Mwangi said two councillors from Murang'a - Michuki's home district - had applied for the licence and obtained the all clear from the police.
The demonstrators also came out boldly in their attack against Ali, saying he had failed to maintain security.
They condemned the recent attack on the home of Internal Security minister Mr John Michuki and the killing of a chief by the invading gang.
The marchers also demanded the release of Njenga. However, the politicians said it was curious that the group targeted Ali but had no problem with Michuki.
They also dismissed the raid on Michuki's Kangema rural home as "stage-managed". They said the demonstration and accusations against Ali reeked of a hidden agenda that could point at stage-managed insecurity.
Demonstration heightened tension
The demonstration heightened tension and panic in the capital as the youths first assembled at Uhuru Park, where they plotted and a read a press statement before spilling onto Nairobi streets and bringing traffic to a standstill for hours.
Some of the placards they carried read: "Equal Rights and Justice. Ali Stop Selective Justice, Maina Njenga is the Only Political Prisoner."
The group's statement - read by Mr Joe Waiga, the party's executive director - lamented that many people were being arrested for crimes they did not commit and asked Ali to resign.
Waiga said the attack on Michuki's home showed there was insecurity. Unknown people attacked the minister's Kangema home where they fired 51 bullets and shattered his glass door.
The demonstrators appeared well organised and most of them were neatly dressed in sharp suits while a handful wore woollen headgear.
On reaching the Moi Air Base in Eastleigh, the group shouted at women and children who had fled the slum violence and taken refuge there, but police intervened.
Whole sections of the slum deserted
The group then marched to the slum, where more trouble erupted after police lobbed teargas at them. This led to the killing of one man whom residents said was one of the youths.
He was allegedly found carrying a sword and was running away from the policemen when he was cornered by members of the public and stoned to death.
Whole sections of the slum were deserted as residents fled with their belongings.
For several hours, Mungiki youths clashed with contingents of police officers deployed in the area.
Nairobi Provincial Commissioner Mr James Waweru told The Standard the dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed on Tuesday would stand until calm was restored.
Earlier, the PC had met all city police bosses and provincial administrators whom he urged to eradicate the Mungiki menace.
He said some sect members were imported to the slum to cause mayhem.
"We have established that those who went about killing innocent people in Mathare were imported from Dandora. We are investigating," he said.
Waweru said the Government was determined to eliminate proscribed groups to make the city secure for investors.

"Gang war erupts in Kenyan slum"

(AFP, November 06, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - At least five people were killed when vicious gang warfare erupted in a Kenyan slum between a banned cult accused of criminal ties and a group known locally as the "Taliban," police said on Tuesday.
Police shot dead two members of the so-called Mungiki sect late on Monday as they roamed Nairobi's Mathare shantytown seeking revenge for the deaths of three of their colleagues hacked to death by the Taliban earlier, they said.
"Three people were hacked to death by bandits last night, while our forces killed two gangsters who opened fired at them," national police spokesperson Gideon Kibunja said.
He said fighting between the two sides first erupted on Sunday over a dispute involving protection rackets for illicit brewing cartels that operate in the Mathare slum on Nairobi's eastern outskirts.
The Mungiki are a shadowy politico-religious group with alleged ties to Kenya's 1950s pre-independence Mau Mau uprising and blamed for a string of recent murders and violent robberies around the east African nation.
The Taliban were formed in Kenya's western city of Kisumu in the 1990s and are reputed to organise political violence but have no religious affiliation, unlike the Afghan Islamic fundamentalist group from which they took their name.

67 Suspected Mungiki Sect Members Arrested"

("East African Standard," May 07, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - Police in Nyeri have arrested 67 suspected followers of the outlawed Mungiki sect.
The suspects were taken in on Saturday, moments after they paid their last respects to a colleague gunned down in Nairobi.
They had travelled to Kianjau Village, Mathira Division, Nyeri, to bury Wachira wa Wanjiru, who was shot dead in Nairobi by police officers. Central Police boss, Njue Njagi, said security officers surrounded the homestead where the burial was taking place and netted all the suspects.
He said 67 men and women are being held at various police stations in Nyeri and Karatina.
The suspects, who were chanting Thai! Thai! (Peace! Peace!), performed their rituals, unaware that police officers were in the vicinity. The police chief called on members of the public to report any person who is suspected to be a member of the outlawed sect.
Meanwhile, an average of 15 youth are on daily basis arrested in Murang'a District on suspicions of belonging to the unregistered Mungiki sect. On Saturday, Murang'a Officer Commanding Police Division, Rose Wanjiru Mbae, said crackdown on the members has been intensified in all parts of the district.
On Friday, a 37-year-old Stephen Irungu, alias Kiunjuri, who has been on the most wanted list in connection with murders within Kahuro division, was shot dead as he attempted to flee from police officers he was leading to his accomplice's house in Kianjogu Village.
Irungu was shot en route to the home of Mwangi Kihui, also on the wanted list, in connection with the death of Samuel Gathuku in February this year.
Mbae said, police dragnets have been set up in all bus terminus, where sect members extorting money from public service vehicles operators are not spared. At the same time, Murang'a District Commissioner, Kenneth Lusaka, has asked members of public to cooperate with the police if the war against the illegal sect was to be won.
He said residents of Kahuro division, who had been living in a state of fear, received the death of Irungu with joy. Lusaka said some prominent persons within Kianjogu Village had been forced to abandon their rural homes, due to fears over the increased sect activities.
Lusaka, who chairs the district security committee, said war on the sect would not be stopped until the members surrendered, or the Government security machinery flushed them out of their dens.

"Police link killings to sect"

("The Standard," May 05, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - The Mungiki sect was on Thursday linked to the brutal killings of two people in Nairobi as Eldoret police gunned down two suspected sect members in a botched carjack.
Police said they were investigating the deaths in Nairobi’s Industrial Area and Jogoo Road. One of the bodies had missing parts. Police suspect the killings were related to rituals similar to those blamed on Mungiki adherents in the past.
The body was found along Jogoo Road on Thursday morning and police suspect it was ferried there. Police said the middle-aged man’s head had deep cuts. They said they were pursuing a ritual angle in their investigations.
The second body was discovered in Industrial Area at about 7am. Police said the person seemed to have been strangled somewhere before being dumped on the roadside. The body had a bullet wound in the chest, though there were no bloodstains at the scene.
Embakasi police boss Julius Muthuri said they were investigating the incident. He said a team had been appointed to pursue the case and get the killers.
In the Eldoret incident, the suspects had attempted to carjack a motorist along the Eldoret-Kapsabet highway. They carjacked a vehicle carrying over Sh2.5 million belonging to a teachers’ sacco in Nandi North District as it was being transferred from an Eldoret bank to Kapsabet.
Another suspect escaped during the 1.30pm incident. The police recovered an AK-47 rifle from the slain suspects. The suspects had attempted to carjack a motorist at Mosoriot, when police intercepted and shot them dead as they tried to escape.
Uasin-Gishu acting Officer Commanding Police Division, Mr Apollo Onyonyi, said one of the shot suspects, who he identified as ‘Macho’, had been mentioned among the Mungiki members terrorising public transport operators in Eldoret town.
"This man even communicated with one of their leaders, whom we arrested on Wednesday," said Onyonyi.

"Suspected Mungiki leader arrested"

by Titus Maero and Barry Salil ("Kenya Times," May 04, 2006)

Eldoret, Kenya - Police officers in Eldoret yesterday arrested a suspect believed to be the ring leader of the outlawed Mungiki sect whose followers have been terrorising matatu crews in the area.
Confirming the arrest, the Uasin Gishu officer commanding police division (OCPD) Apollo Onyonyi said the suspect was arrested in Langas estate in an ongoing security operation targeting members of the sect.
The suspect was arrested following police raids on their hideouts in various estates in the town.
Police said 30 more suspected members of the group have been arrested, bringing the total number of those in custody to 46.
People believed to be members of the illegal group who were armed with crude weapons had on Monday attacked matatu crews plying various routes within Eldoret and its environs.
A conductor of one of the matatus plying the route between the town and Huruma estate sustained serious head injuries, after he was slashed with a panga.David Wesonga was rushed to the Moi Referral Hospital Eldoret for treatment, where two other matatu crew members were also admitted following injuries sustained from the attacks.
On Tuesday, the OCPD led a high-powered security team to flush out the suspects from their hideout at Kipkaren estate, an operation which saw them recover an AK-47 assault rifle.
Onyonyi said the police also recovered assorted crude weapons, over 100 rounds of ammunition, military uniforms, bolt cutters, bows and arrows.
He said all the suspects arrested are being held at the Eldoret police station, adding that they were assisting police investigations into their activities in the area.
Onyonyi said the police suspected theHe confirmed that security personnel comprising regular and administration police officers had been deployed on a 24-hour basis to crack down on the group.
Elsewhere, police in Samburu district have arrested a suspect believed to be the leader of a group behind the raids in the area.
Area senior district officer 1, Aden Harakhe, said the suspect was arrested at Maiya trading centre and was being held at Maralal police station, awaiting prosecution.
The DO also said that the suspect was working with a non governmental organisation (NGO), Christian Children Fund (CCF) in Maralal.

"11 mungiki suspects arrested" by Emmanuel Kolo

("KBC," May 03, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - Police in Eldoret town have arrested eleven suspected adherents of the Mungiki sect including their regional coordinator.
The Eldoret acting OCPD Apollo Wanyonyi said the police also recovered an AK 47, a fully loaded magazine, 162 rounds of ammunition and crude weapons.
The weapons including three pairs of army uniform were found hidden in holes dug both inside and within the compound of a house in Kipkarren Estate believed to be their hideout.
A cash book listing contributions from members and their constitution was also found.
The OCPD, who was accompanied by the officer in charge of AP's Superintendent Joseph Keitany said they had received information that touts were fighting in Huruma Estate for the control of the Huruma matatu stage.
They arrested four suspects after residents complained that were they suspected members of the Mungiki sect.
After interrogations, the four led the police to their hideout where seven other suspects were arrested.
Wanyonyi said the police had recovered many stolen electronic items and appealed to members of the public to come forward and identify their property.

"Suspected Mungiki Boss On Gun Charge"

by Judy Ogutu ("East African Standard," February 10, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - The suspected leader of the outlawed Mungiki sect, John Maina Njenga, was charged in court on Thursday.
Njenga, said to be the sect's national chairman, appeared before Nairobi Chief Magistrate Aggrey Muchelule to answer charges of being in illegal possession of a firearm and drug trafficking. He denied the charges.
It was alleged that last February 2 at Zambia area in Ngong, Kajiado District, he was found in possession of a pistol without a firearm certificate.
Njenga was also allegedly found in possession of cannabis sativa (bhang) with a street value of Sh1,220.
The prosecution urged the court to deny the accused bail, saying he had been on the run since last November.
Police arrested him at his home in Ngong last week. About 100 officers descended on the house at 5 am and found him asleep.
"The investigating officer has sworn an affidavit stating that the accused has been on the run since November 16, yet he knew police were looking for him in connection with another criminal case," the prosecutor, police superintendent Stephen Chacha, said.
Chacha said Njenga had another case where a warrant of arrest had been issued against him.
"Since December 9, 2005, Mr Njenga's lawyer had been informed by police of his client's arrest warrant but the accused made no effort to present himself before court until his recent arrest," he said.
But Njenga asked the court to grant him bail, saying he would present himself to the court whenever required.
He claimed that police planted a gun in his house after failing to recover any after a two-hour search.
Njenga also claimed that police took Sh470,000 from him during the arrest, which were proceeds from the sale of grains.
As a result, his sisters and cousins had not reported back to school because the money was meant to pay their fees, he said.
Muchelule will deliver his ruling on the bail application on Wednesday.
Police have launched a fresh crackdown on Mungiki followers, who are still believed to be engaged in subversive activities.
Last month, suspected members of the sect shot and injured two senior police officers during a protest by matatu operators in the city.

"Sons of the Mau Mau' direct hate at Kenya's corrupt elite"

by Paul Willis ("Telegraph," February 05, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - Ducking beneath the tin roofs of rickety houses and past streams of raw sewage, a member of Kenya's outlawed Mungiki sect acts as an angry tour guide to the sprawling slum of Mlango Kubwa.
A world away from the pristine office blocks of downtown Nairobi, just a few miles from here, it is a breeding ground for disease and resentment against the poverty-stricken nation's ruling class.
"The Mungiki sect will clear all this up soon," says the guide, who identified himself only as "Peter" for fear of arrest. "We must take pride in ourselves - that's what our grandfathers in Mau Mau taught us."
Half a century on from their bloody revolt against British colonial rule, the spirit that fired the Mau Mau is back - only this time its violence is directed not against white rule, but the black rule that replaced it.
Preaching a return to tribal ethics, the Mungiki - whose followers describe themselves as "the true sons of the Mau Mau" - are viewed as little more than a vicious street mafia by the Kenyan government, which points to their track record of murders, rapes and racketeering.
But their standing in their ghetto strongholds has risen in the wake of a huge corruption scandal that has rocked the administration of President Mwai Kibaki in recent weeks.
Documents disclosed last month by the country's former anti-corruption chief, John Githongo, now in exile in Britain, have linked senior government figures to a series of suspect contracts designed to loot £150 million from state funds.
Public anger has been further inflamed by disclosures that apparatchiks have spent more than £7 million on fleets of new luxury cars since 2002 - money that could have helped the four million Kenyans needing food aid.
Peter is among up to 400,000 mainly unemployed Kenyans who have joined the sect in recent years. Born and raised in the slums, he believes that the cure for his country's many woes is eschewing "degenerate" aspects of Western culture and embracing a simple, pre-colonial life.
"You must be pure and live cleanly like our ancestors," he told the Sunday Telegraph.
"We are doing bad things: we have girls in prostitution, a government taking money from its own people and we have forgotten our past. God is sending drought to punish us."
Like the Mau Mau, the Mungiki is drawn from Kenya's majority Kikuyu tribe, whose uprising in 1952 over the appropriation of their farming lands saw them kill white settlers.
Although only 32 were murdered, the manner of the killings horrified Britain - a child on a tricycle was beheaded, while other victims were hacked to pieces with machetes. In reprisals by British forces, 1,048 Mau Mau were hanged. The four-year battle to stamp out the insurgency ultimately cost around 11,000 African lives.
Today, the Mungiki advocate a return to traditional customs - abstaining from alcohol, facing Mount Kenya to pray, and sniffing tobacco as their holy communion. The only difference is that to avoid arrest, they tend not to wear the Mau Mau's distinctive dreadlocks.
In the Mlango Kubwa slum, where most residents get by on less than £1 a day, clan members make monthly collections in return for promises of security and keeping the streets clean.
In its quest to save Kenya from Western decadence, however, the group has also embraced much-reviled practices - such as stripping women of miniskirts and trousers in public and forcibly circumcising them.
Only last week, British High Court judges overturned a Home Office ruling to send back a 31-year-old women who had fled Kenya after being raped by the sect, upholding her claim that she could be circumcised if she returned.
Many commentators say the group's ideological claims are just a smokescreen to mask its illegal activities, which include running protection rackets on private minibus routes.
One owner, who did not wish to be named, said it cost him more than £100 a day in bribes to keep his fleet of minibuses safe from Mungiki gangs armed with machetes and clubs.
He said: "My workers have been beaten up and we've had our windows smashed. It's domestic terrorism, but it's better to pay and keep safe."
Public resentment at the extortion activities of the sect boiled over recently when five members were lynched by an angry mob in the Maragwa district north of Nairobi.
Last week, Kenyan police, acting on complaints from bus travellers, arrested more than 250 suspected Mungiki members after a four-hour operation in the capital's slums.
On Thursday the leader of the group, Maina Njenga, was also detained, following a declaration of "all-out war" on the sect by Kenya's security forces.
Father Joachim Omollo Ouko, a political commentator who has followed the group for the past five years, said: "The young men who are joining are just poor slum kids who can't find jobs.
"It may be that they are attracted by a certain ideology, but if this group really believed what they preach they wouldn't go around robbing and stealing from people."

"Mungiki sect leader arrested" by Graham Kirwa

("KBC," February 02, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - The leader of the outlawed Mungiki sect Maina Njenga has been arrested. Njenga was arrested Thursday morning when police officers raided a posh house in Ngong area.
Njenga is suspected to be the owner of the expansive Kitengela house that was raided by police commandos late last year and paraphernalia associated with the outlawed sect found.
The house has since remained under the guard of GSU officers.Njenga’s arrest follows last week’s declaration by the Commissioner of Police that Police officers would now engage the Mungiki sect members in an all out war.
Following the announcement, more than 200 people suspected to be members of the sect were arrested in Nairobi early this week.
Internal Security Minister John Michuki has given police officers the go ahead to use maximum force in countering the outlawed sect.

"200 Mungiki suspects arrested"

("KBC," January 29, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - More than 200 suspected of the outlawed Mungiki sect have been arrested in Muranga District during the burial of four colleagues who had been killed by area residents last week.
The members were allegedly planning a revenge attack on the residents. Reports also indicate that they engaged police officers in a shoot-out for several hours last night.
The aftermath of a fierce gun battle between members, over hundred cars were extensively damaged following the incident.
It is alleged that the vehicles had been hired by members of the outlawed sect to ferry them to the burial of four of their colleagues who were killed by irate residents for their involvement in criminal activities in the area.
The vehicle owners say they had hired out the vehicles at 10,000 shillings each from Nairobi to Mukurwe-ini and were not aware that they members of the outlawed sect.
The Mungiki members are said to have harassed and injured police at road blocks as they headed to the burial but when they returned police had gone for reinforcements and were able to arrest 200 members.
Police say they had received word that the Mungiki members were on a revenge mission. Calm has returned in the area and security intensified as police continue patrolling the area.

"50 Mungiki suspects arrested in Kandara"

by Maxwel Masava ("Kenya Times," January 22, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - POLICE in Kandara division of Maragua District have arrested over 50 suspected Mungiki adherents following the killing of five other sect members on Thursday last week.
Police carried out the swoop on Friday night and nabbed the suspects in various villages in the district.
The arrest came as matatu operators expressed fears that some sect members were planning a revenge attack to justify the killing of their colleagues.
Officer in charge of Kabati Police Station, Nelson Shilunji Daliti said the suspects were nabbed following a crackdown on Friday night. He assured matatu operators in the region that security had been beefed up to protect them against any harassment by the outlawed sect members.
On Friday, Matatu Welfare Association chairman, Dickson Mbugua claimed that his members in the area were operating in fear of a reprisal attack by Mungiki members.
But speaking yesterday, the area OCS said, police had increased patrols along the busy Kabati-Kandara road via Kagundu-ini market.
"We are aware of the tension but our officers are alert on the ground. So far we have carried out a crackdown on suspected Mungiki members and the operation is going to continue until we feel our area is safe,” said Shilunji.
Five suspected sect members were hacked to death by irate members of public on Thursday while a similar number was said to have escaped with various injuries after they attempted to take control of several matatu termini within Kabati and Kagundu-ini markets.
Police said the gang arrived there in the morning from Nairobi and immediately begun soliciting for Sh1,000 from any vehicle that was plying the routes.
The drivers and conductors who failed to comply, police added, were harassed and beaten up.

"Mungiki shoot, injure police officers"

("KBC," January 21, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - Nairobi's Central police station boss Patrick Oduma was Friday shot by suspected Mungiki sect members, triggering a masive countrywide crackdown on the outlawed sect members.
Oduma and two other police officers were among a contigent of anti riot police who were trying to disperse rioting matatu touts at the crime prone Globe cinema roundabout when they were ambushed by thugs riding in a matatu.
The thugs sprayed bullets on the three three officers who were later rushed to Kenyatta national hospital.
Police commisioner Major General Hussein Ali said police will be ruthles in dealing with the outlawed sect members.
He said no one will be spared and the sect's sympathizers and their financiers will face the full force of the law.
Ali said police will no longer tolerate matatu operators who attempt to stage protests in the protex of police harassment.
He said PSV licences of matatus that were impounded during the Friday protests will be cancelled and warned of similar action in the event of any demonstrations in future.
Last week internal security minister John Michuki gave the police a go ahead to focefully crackdown on Mungiki.
Meanwhile internal security minister John Michuki has said the government will not relent on its war to eliminate the outlawed Mungiki sect.
Mickuki said his ministry would make sure wananchi continue with their day to day activities without fear of being attacked.
The minister who was speaking at Gathang’ara dispensary in Kangema, asked Matatu operators to volunteer information on suspected members of the sect in their areas of operation.
He was speaking a day after five members of the suspected Mungiki sect were lynched in Kagunduini along Thika road.
The minister also said he would beef up security for Members of Parliament who report any cases of threat to their lives.

"Five Mungiki members hacked to death"

by Maxwell Masava ("Kenya Times," January 20, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - Five suspected Mungiki adherents were yesterday morning hacked to death by irate members of public in Kandara division of Maragua District.
A similar number is said to have escaped with various injuries but not after they had rescued two of their colleagues from the irate members of the public.
Police in the area said the slain gang was in a group of over 10 youth who were armed with crude weapons and had attempted to take control of several matatu termini within Kabati and Kagundu-ini markets.
According to area Officer Commanding Kabati Police Station Nelson Shilunji Daliti, the gang is suspected to have come from Nairobi’s Githurai Estate with the intention of extorting money and creating mayhem in the area termini.
“Our preliminary findings indicate that the gang might have come from Nairobi,” the OCS said.
Meanwhile, police in Nakuru have arrested nine suspects and recovered an assortment of crude weapons believed to have been used in skirmishes within Rongai Division.
Divisional police boss Titus Yoma said the suspects are being held at Solai Police Station and would be arraigned in court once police complete their investigations.
Shilunji informed the Kenya Times that the gang arrived in the area at around 6am and immediately started demanding Sh1,000 from any vehicle plying the busy Kabati /Kandara Road via Kagundu-ini in the area. The drivers and conductors who failed to comply, police added, were harassed and beaten up.
The OCS further said that the gang critically injured a six-year-old girl who was travelling with her parents in one of the matatus. She was rushed to the nearest Thika District Hospital.
Bodies of the slain gang members which lay at several scenes were taken by police officers to Thika District Hospital mortuary.
According to the police, members of the public alerted the police about the gang. Police rushed to the scene but found members of the public had already lynched five of them.
“We swiftly responded but on arrival we found members of the public had already lynched five of the suspected gang members,” Shilunji said.
Five other sect members were said to have escaped mob justice although other reports indicated that two members of the gang were saved from the mob by a group of people suspected to be their colleagues.
Area OCPD Stanley Lamai and Central Province deputy police chief Sammy Maritim also visited the area following the killings.
Addressing the Press, the OCPD warned followers of the sect that their days were numbered and advised them to either surrender or face the full force of the law.

"Mungiki still going strong despite Govt ban"

by Steven Mkawale ("The Standard," January 17, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - Bringing down the outlawed Mungiki sect has been a difficult task for authorities due to the use of oaths in recruitment and as a way of binding members together in loyalty.
Sect leaders who spoke to The Big Issue in Nakuru last week said the administration of oaths to new recruits was meant to strengthen the group and ensure they shared the same goals and aspirations, as opposed to committing beastly acts such as killing non-members.
To join the outlawed Mungiki sect, one has to undergo an elaborate ceremony that includes taking a binding oath whose main feature is to swear never to reveal the activities and secrets of the movement to others. One is also made to understand that failure to honour the clause would mean death.
First and foremost, those intending to join the sect must be circumcised men and women or younger people intending to undergo the rite.
Despite it being declared illegal, the sect continues to recruit young men and women across the country, but this time around, they say, it is a political party.
Initially held at their shrine in Karandi area of Laikipia District, the oathing ceremony is an elaborate process, which begins late in the evening, goes on through the night to end at dawn.
Black sheep and goats were slaughtered and their blood mixed with some concoction said to be made out of wild plant roots. Traditional Kikuyu beer, Muratina, whose main component is honey is served in plenty as the initiates engage in singing and chanting slogan in praise of their gods and the movement.
Elaborate ritual
Paraphernalia, which include walking sticks painted in red, green, black and white, gourds and small tobacco containers are passed around to members and a flag in the same colours is normally hosted outside the shrine.
"We are Mungiki and we shall stick together and guard the secrets of our sect. We shall protect one another and remain united under our leaders…" the initiates chant as they sip a bloody concoction that is passed around to everyone present. They also sing traditional songs.
Roast meat is also passed around to members who take bites in turns after their leaders, and tobacco, in small containers, is passed around for members to sniff, says a former member who requested anonymity.
The man, who co-ordinated Mungiki activities in Rift Valley since the sect was founded until it was declared illegal, says the aim of the elaborate ritual is to unify the group. "All we wanted to achieve was strong unity and to be identified by the society," he says.
The sole purpose of the oath, he says, is to ensure that the initiates abide to our doctrines of coming together to form a society that respects the Kikuyu culture and the ancient practices.
As morning comes, the new initiates are "baptised" in the wee hours of the morning at a dam near the shrine. The then sect spiritual leader Maina Njenga conducted the ceremonies. The converts are immersed in the murky waters before passing over a goatskin, which is spread on the ground where the spiritual leader stood.
The sad thing about those who joined the sect after being coerced was that there was no turning back after the oath, our source revealed. "Anyone who joined the sect would be allowed to know all the secrets including our sources of funds our operations and other internal matters. That is why some people were killed once they denounced the sect," he reveals.
There is no turning back once you are a true Mungiki, he says, adding that no one has ever performed a reversal ritual. "This explains why those who join us disappear from the public domain once they feel like not continuing to be members," he explains.
More secretive
Although the government a few years ago destroyed the shrine in Laikipia, the sect leaders maintain they still carry out their activities in secret locations in Rift Valley Province. Late last year, some General Service Unit officers raided the sect’s secret location in Ngong near Nairobi, evidence that the group never stopped operating - it only became more secretive.
The leader says no one will stop Mungiki unless the members decide to end it. "We are back in a big way and our activities are not only concentrated in the matatu industry. We have gone into other businesses in a bid to raise funds for our activities," he warns. However, the leader says the oath is not meant to make followers commit crimes such as killing and adds that people have been using the sect as scapegoat anytime criminals do something.
The fear of death, like in the traditional African oaths, is what dominated the process, something that has made most followers, who have since lost interest or those who have other reasons to leave, not to openly declare their departure from the sect. The source said a number of those who have declared publicly that they have left the sect, died in mysterious circumstances. Some were beheaded while others had their tongues pulled out when they were killed.
Those still in sect meet in small groups disguising themselves as business partners or members of a self-help group. This minimises suspicion. Most of the members no longer keep the trademark dreadlocks that made them easily identifiable and they have stopped sniffing tobacco in public.
A large number of youngsters joined the sect out of excitement and desire for adventure without knowing what it entailed. Those are the people who were later brainwashed and used by politicians as machinery to cause mayhem in various parts of the country, says the then Rift Valley coordinator.
He says most of these were killed while others languish in jails because they did not properly follow the sect’s teachings and themes. Due to that ignorance they allowed themselves to be unduly exploited and misused.

"Kenya orders crackdown on outlawed sect"

(AFP, January 13, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - Kenyan authorities on Friday ordered police to be ruthless with an outlawed cult blamed for murders and violent robberies and held by officials to be attempting to win legitimacy by transforming itself into a political party.
National Security Minister John Michuki said police have been told to be merciless on the Mungiki sect, a shadowy religious group with alleged historic ties to the Mau Mau uprising that was banned four years ago after it was linked to violent crime.
"Despite the sect having been banned, there are obvious indications that it is still alive," Michuki told reporters at a Nairobi news conference. "It is growing and spreadings its tentacles in rural and urban areas, with most of its members seemingly oblivious of its illegality.
"The police have been directed to use the full force of the law to [ensure the] sect and its illegal activities are totally stopped," he said. "We shall deal with the sect ruthlessly."
The Mungiki is believed to be concentrated in the capital and in Kenya's Central and Rift Valley provinces and Michuki said police had already arrested at least 192 members since the begining of the year for various crimes.
The minister accused the sect, comprised most obviously of snuff-taking dreadlocked youths, of blatantly breaking laws and violating human rights with alleged involvement in extortion and murder as well as harassment of women.
In October, officials accused the Mungiki of capping a 15-year reign of terror along Kenya's roads and inside Nairobi's slums with the formation of the Kenya National Youth Alliance (KNYA) political party that champions youth employment.
But authorities have dismissed the alliance as an attempt to disguise the existence of the Mungiki.
"I do not accept reasons advanced for the existence of the sect and unemployment cannot be used to justify these crimes," Michuki said.

"More Mungiki suspects nabbed"

("KBC," January 02, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - The number of suspected illegal Mungiki sect adherents arrested by Thika has risen to 28 following the nabbing of five more on the eve of New Year.

Thika O.C.P.D J. Ringera said the suspects were arrested following claims by Thika Town services Matatu Association that a senior Thika civic leader had started a cartel composed of Mungiki followers to extort money from Matatus operations.

The Association Chairman Michael Kamande said the cartel was demanding sh.30 from each of the 150 Matatus owned by its members per day.

Ringera said crackdown on cartels would be intensified.

Meanwhile, Thika Traffic Officer James Karani has ordered his officers to impound all vehicles flouting transport regulation.

He said all vehicles should be inspected to ensure they complied with all transport rules to be allowed to operate this year. Thika DC Mooke said most of PSV no longer had speed governors.