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

"Mungiki’s chilling warning to defectors"

("Kenya Times," May 31, 2007)

Nairobi, Kenya - A MAN alleged to have deserted the outlawed Mungiki sect was yesterday hacked to death as two former legislators linked to the criminal activities of the proscribed organisation were arraigned in court while Juja MP William Kabogo was arrested despite a court order.
Elvis Njoroge Mutwa , 27, and a father of two was killed by suspected Mungiki adherents in Mathare Area 4A at about 9 am and his body dumped into the shallow Mathare river with a note tied on its head warning would-be defectors of dire consequences.
Police arrested Kabogo in Kiambu area on Tuesday night as he was headed to a friend’s house where he was scheduled to spend a night.
And last evening, High Court Judge Justice Jackton Buoma Ojwang’ directed Commissioner of Police Hussein Ali and Director of CID Gatiba Karanja to produce Kabogo in court today and show cause why they should not be committed to civil jail for contempt of court.
Justice Ojwang said Ali and Karanja knew very well that the court had issued Kabogo with anticipatory bond and bail stopping police from arresting him and yet they proceeded to arrest.
According to eye witnesses, Njoroge was plucked out of a number 46 matatu plying the Huruma route and paraded through the sprawling Mathare slums before being hacked to death by his former colleagues who were apparently angered by his recent dessertion from the sect following intensified police crackdowns on its members.
Both police and witnesses said Njoroge used to operate at a Dandora matatu terminus but shifted to Mathare upon defection from the sect sometimes last month. It was said that the sect adherents have since been hunting for him.
Police in the area led by divisional police boss Paul Ruto claimed that the man was a former member of the Mungiki sect and might have been killed due to his defection.
But his family disputed the police claim saying he was killed by a gang of illegal brewers who feared that he might expose them to law enforcers.
This came as two former MPs, David Manyara (Nakuru) and Adolf Muchiri (Kasarani) who have been linked to the proscribed sect were arraigned before a Kiambu court but declined to execute a bond to keep peace as demanded by police
The two legislators who have been in police custody for the last four days told senior Magistrate Mrs Grace Macharia that they had no association with the proscribed sect and therefore could not sign the peace binding writ.
The politicians said the police have failed to find any evidence to connect them with the criminal activities of the sect and had no reason to force them to execute the bond.
Their lawyers James Orengo, Nganga Wakihiu and Wanyiri Kihoro complained to the court that the police have not given reasons for holding their clients more than the period prescribed by law.
They urged the court to make enquiry to establish the grounds under which the police held the two politicians in incommucado away from their families and lawyers.
The lawyers submitted that police have deponed in their affidavits matters of hearsay adding that the law enforcement agents ought to have gathered credible information linking the former MPs to the sect before arresting them.
In the absence of tangible explanation and evidence before the court, the subjects cannot be asked to execute the bonds to keep peace, said Orengo.
The fundamental rights of the former MPs, he said, had been violated, saying that at the hearing of the constitutional application they would be raising several issues which have been infringed as result of the arrest and illegal confinement.
Mr Orengo said the police had admitted on oath that indeed in their investigations they did not find any evidence against them and therefore no criminal charges could be preferred against them.
The lawyer said that the law requires that upon arrest the police were supposed to report the matter to a magistrate or produce them in court within 24 hours.
The magistrate, however ordered the politicians to provide a bond for Sh 500,000 each to secure their release or alternatively deposit in court Sh 200,000 pending the hearing of their constitutional application. Prosecutor Inspector John Marete said the intelligent reports in the hands of the investigating officers revealed that former MPs were associates of and contributors to the affairs of the sect. That their involvement was indirectly and remotely such that the investigation failed to gather evidence to indict them with criminal offences.
She ordered that those applications be heard on June 25 and July 24 respectively. Mr Manyara, a former Nakuru Town MP was arrested last Thursday while Muchiri was nabbed on Friday at the Bomas of Kenya as he attended Democratic Party (DP) delegates meeting.
Police are still holding former Limuru MP George Nyanja who was apprehended last week while attending a Democratic Party of Kenya (DP) meeting at the Bomas of Kenya.
Wundanyi MP Mwandawiro Mghanga who is also being sought by the police is yet to be apprehended and his whereabouts yesterday remained unknown.
Juja MP who successfully moved to court on Friday and obtained anticipatory bail was seized on Tuesday night despite the fact he was issued with a bond of Sh 100,000 by High Court Judge Justice J.B.Ojwang. On the Mathare incident, Njoroge’s mother, Mrs Wambui Karanja said his son had received several death threats from the group and that she had warned him not to venture out a lot in the area.
The slain tout is said to have been a member of the outlawed sect and he defected a few months ago and started threatening his former colleagues that he would expose them.
Mr Ruto confirmed that the slain man was a former member but wondered whether he had severed the links completely. “How come he went back to operate on the same route he used to extort money with his gang. If at all he had quit, he should have gone into any other business outside the area,” said Ruto
The man was dragged out of the moving matatu by a gang of four men in broad day light. He was paraded through the vast slum before bewildered residents. By yesterday noon, anxious residents who flocked to the scene of murder expressed fears that the killing was likely to spark off reprisal attacks in the area. They said the man was killed by a rival gang in the area which belongs to a particular ethnic group.
By the time police from a nearby police post arrived on the scene, the assailants had already escaped into the crowded slum.
The same area experienced a wave of violence in October last year when two outlawed groups clashed in the area leading to the deaths of several people.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian Ambassador to Kenya Elizabeth Jacobsen has urged the government to move with speed to guarantee security to Kenyans.
She said the government needed to adequately address threats from various violent groups like the outlawed Mungiki sect which she said was terrorising innocent people in many parts of the country.
And elsewhere, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)-Kenya leaders told the government to act decisively to wipe out the Mungiki menace from society.
Addressing the press after their National Executive Council (NEC meeting, ODM-K accused the government of dillydallying over the issue yet it knew the forces behind the sect.

"Kenyan police battle 'Mungiki' gang, six more die"

by Jeremy Clarke (Reuters, May 28, 2007)

Nairobi, Kenya - Kenyan police shot dead two members of the outlawed Mungiki gang on Monday after the killing of two officers and two civilians in the latest of a wave of gun-battles convulsing the east African nation.
Violence flared again on Sunday night when Mungiki gunmen opened fire on police patrolling a crowded minibus terminal in a north-east district of Nairobi, a police spokesman said.
A 15-year-old boy, a shopkeeper, and two officers died.
"Four gunmen attacked police from behind late on Sunday night. Two officers were killed and two people caught in the crossfire," Eric Kiraithe said.
"All four gunmen escaped as police were reluctant to fire in such a congested location."
Early on Monday police tracked down the gunmen's hideout, killing two and arresting four suspects, the spokesman added.
Mungiki, whose name means "multitude" in the Kikuyu tribal language, was banned in 2002 after members armed with knives and clubs killed more than 20 people in a Nairobi slum.
The group instils fear by promoting archaic Kikuyu rituals. Many Kenyans believe it has support of corrupt politicians.
Of late, Mungiki members have fought weeks of battles with minibus operators who are resisting demands for protection money, which the government estimates nets more than 90 million Kenya shillings ($1.35 million) a day nationwide.
In a macabre turn, villagers in central Kenya last week found severed heads placed on poles and body parts scattered in bushes in an attack blamed on Mungiki.
Facing a rise in violence across the nation in an election year, Kenyan officials have vowed to wipe out the notorious sect and Internal Security Minister John Michuki has posted more police at minibus terminals preyed on by Mungiki.
"The new measures are working and Sunday's attack has forced a change of tactics, with gunmen targeting big crowds for their own safety," Kiraithe said. "Police officers have paid the ultimate price, but you can't put a price on law and order."

"Kenya court acquits ex-leader of sect"

by Robert Hummy (Reuters, May 24, 2007)

Nairobi, Kenya - A Kenyan court acquitted on Wednesday the former leader and 28 members of an outlawed sect that has become the target of a government crackdown after a spate of attacks including six beheadings.
The government has promised to wipe out the Mungiki sect after many accused it of being behind six murders this week that left severed heads and body parts scattered in areas of Kenya's Central Province and near the capital Nairobi.
John Maina Njenga and 28 others were accused of making people swear a loyalty oath to the sect, which was banned in 2002.
"I acquit Njenga and others because the prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt to sustain a conviction," Magistrate Teresia Ngugi said in her ruling.
The former chairman will remain in custody while awaiting the outcome of another case in which he is charged with having a firearm without a license.
Mungiki has fought weeks of battles with minibus operators who are resisting demands for protection money. The minibus, or matatu, business nets more than 90 million Kenya shillings a day nationwide, according to the government.
Internal Security Minister John Michuki said the government was stepping up measures to stop Mungiki, including increased patrols on matatu routes and a permanent police presence at bus stops in affected areas.
"I want to send a clear message to members of all the proscribed gangs and sects ... to abandon their criminal lifestyles, because the government will do everything possible as mandated by the law to wipe them out," Michuki said.
He also told a press conference that police had been directed to investigate any politicians using gangs for political purposes.
Michuki has criticised the judiciary for failing to convict Mungiki suspects, and has promised many times to eliminate the group by force if necessary.
The sect, whose name means "multitude" in the Kikuyu tribal language, was banned in 2002 after members armed with knives and clubs killed more than 20 people in a Nairobi slum.
The group instils fear by promoting archaic rituals like swearing oaths and female circumcision, and many Kenyans believe it has been supported by corrupt politicians.

"Six beheadings blamed on sect shock Kenyans"

(Reuters, May 22, 2007)

Nairobi, Kenya - Villagers found heads placed on poles and body parts scattered in bushes in six murders the media blamed on Tuesday on an outlawed sect notorious for killing and extortion.
People in the country's central region found the heads and other remains after attacks on Sunday and Monday.
The media blamed the killings on Mungiki, a banned group that has fought weeks of battles with local minibus taxi operators who are resisting its demands for protection money.
With presidential elections due in the east African nation in December, many commentators suspected a political hand behind violence threatening the government's authority.
"[Mungiki] is out to demonstrate that it can operate and strike with impunity anywhere and everywhere," the Daily Nation newspaper said on Tuesday in a front page editorial, below pictures of four of the six men who were decapitated.
"It is out to show the police and other government organs are feeble, helpless and unable to protect anyone who defies it."
Police said they would hold a briefing later on Tuesday.
Fear spread fast through the villages of Murang'a and Kiambu with some families fleeing the area as the victims' remains were discovered.
"I had gone out to answer a call of nature at around 3 a.m. when I switched on my torch and saw the head of a human being placed on the roof of my chicken pen," Robert Kiunjuri, a teacher in Kianjogu village, told the Nation.
The 50-year-old victim's headless body had been dragged to the nearby home of a chief, where it was dumped at the gate.
Another head was found perched atop a telephone pole about a mile (kilometer) away, and another found after villagers heard two dogs fighting over it.
In neighboring Kiambu, one head was left at a bus stop in the center of the main town, local media said. A torso and three amputated legs were discovered in a ditch in a nearby village.
The victims all appeared to be local laborers and peasant farmers with no known links to the shadowy sect.
Mungiki, whose name means "multitude" in the local Kikuyu language, was banned in 2002 after members armed with knives and clubs killed more than 20 people in a Nairobi slum.
The group instills fear by promoting archaic Kikuyu rituals like swearing oaths, and many Kenyans believe it has been supported by corrupt politicians in the past.
"The police cannot claim to be seriously investigating Mungiki if they are not calling in for questioning such political leaders," the Nation said. "Ultimately, the government must take full responsibility for failing to contain what is now clearly a national security issue."

"Mungiki members set free"

by Nancy Wangui ("Standard," May 15, 2007)

Nyeri, Kenya - A Nyeri court has discharged 43 Mungiki members on condition that they keep peace for eight months.
After convicting the 43 for being members of the outlawed sect last week, Nyeri Senior Resident Magistrate, Mrs Elizabeth Juma-Osoro, ordered them to ensure their conduct was good within the stipulated time or they face a jail term.
The magistrate invoked Section 35(1) (a) of the Constitution to grant the adherents the conditional discharge after describing their probation report as "impressive".
The probation report on all the adherents proved that they were first offenders.
The court last week convicted the 43 and ordered them to report to a probation officer who was to prepare a report before their sentencing. The adherents walked to their freedom, knowing that any breach of law within the granted eight months would land them in jail.
They had been arrested on suspicion of being members of the Mungiki while they knew or had reason to know the same as an outlawed sect.
They were arrested on June 5, last year, at Karaba village of Mukurweini division.
They were at the burial of 60-year-old Felicious Wangui, who police told the court, was a suspected founder member of the sect.
While convicting the adherents, the court said their behaviour at the graveside, where they sniffed tobacco as they jumped in and out of the grave, betrayed them.
The court further said the option by the 43 to remain silent when they were placed on their defence had left the court with no option but to enter a conviction, based on the evidence of the five police officers that testified during their trial.

"Kenya: Police Find Mungiki Register"

by Evelyne Ogutu ("East African Standard," April 26, 2007)

Nairobi, Kenya - Police in Central Province have stumbled upon what they believe is a list of members of the Mungiki sect.
On Wednesday, police confiscated a register, some literature and assorted paraphernalia associated with the sect and arrested 77 suspects.
Africa 2007
On Thursday, police were using the roll to track down more suspects in Thika and Maragua districts, where some members are reported to have sought refuge after being flushed out of their hideout in Kiambu.
Thika OCPD, Mr James Ringera, told The Standard that police raided a home of a suspected gang leader, nicknamed Noriega, where they found the register. The suspect is in police custody.
"We found a register, which is written in coded language and we believe it is a list of the members. We are trying to decode it," said the OCPD.
If the list is decoded, the war on the outlawed sect could be half won because many of its members have been freed by courts due to the inability to prove membership.
The prosecution has been unable, in many instances, to prove that the suspects arraigned in court are members of the sect.
The only instance when suspects have been put on their defence on charges of being members of the sect was last week in Nyeri when 43 of them were told they had a case to answer.
The case is being heard by Nyeri Senior Resident Magistrate, Ms Elizabeth Osoro.
Meanwhile, 26 suspects have been arrested in Thika town after local residents gave out their names to the police.
The OCPD said they are also using the register, which has more than 1,000 names of suspected members of the sect.
Twenty-two suspects have also been arrested in the neighbouring Maragua District.
Area OCPD, Mr Stanley Lamai, said the suspects are believed to have taken oaths and some have cuts on their bodies.
Elsewhere in Kiambu, two people have been arrested in connection with the shooting of a police officer on Monday.
One was arrested on Tuesday and the other one on Wednesday night in Karuri.
Area OCPD, Mr Amos Cheboi, said the other suspect, who is only known as Laban, is suspected to be among those who shot the officer.
Central Provincial Police Officer, Mr Philip Ndwiga, said it has been difficult to distinguish the Mungiki from other criminals.

"Kenyan policeman killed in battle with banned cult"

(Reuters, April 24, 2007)

Nairobi, Kenya - A Kenyan policeman was killed on Tuesday in Nairobi by suspected members of an outlawed sect accused of killings and extortion.
Fighting erupted last month between the banned Mungiki sect and operators of private minibuses known locally as matatus, who accuse the sect of extortion and kidnapping.
"There was a shootout, a policeman has been killed, it is most unfortunate," said police spokesman Eric Kiraithe. Residents said the clashes have killed at least three people in the capital.
Mungiki, whose name means multitude in the local Kikuyu language, was banned in 2002 after members armed with knives and clubs killed more than 20 people in a Nairobi slum.
Police say 10,000 Mungiki members have been arrested since January 2007. The cult instils fear and respect by promoting archaic Kikuyu rituals like swearing tribal oaths.
Last month, matatu operators burnt down seven houses in a Nairobi suburb owned by people believed to be Mungiki.
These latest clashes and others in Kenya's Mount Elgon and Tana River regions have led to fears that insecurity will worsen as the country heads towards parliamentary and presidential elections, expected in December.
Police Commissioner Hussein Ali said his force would not tolerate lawlessness in the run-up to the elections.
"Anyone found breaking the law must be prepared to face the consequences ... regardless of political affiliation. Elections cannot be an excuse for breaking the law," he said in a statement seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

"Government extends olive branch to Mungiki if they renounce the sect"

by Bernard Momanyi ("Capital FM," April 20, 2007)

Nairobi, Kenya - The government has now extended an olive branch to members of the outlawed Mungiki sect who have been reigning terror in parts of Kiambu district where transport has remained paralyzed over the past three days.
However, Defense Minister Njenga Karume's ultimatum to the terror gang on Wednesday was to first renounce the criminal group before engaging the government in searching for peace.
He said: “If they want to come to the negotiating table and talk, let them come, we shall talk. But not as Mungiki. They must leave Mungiki and behave like children of this country, and bring the violence to an end.”
Speaking during a public forum at Karuri Market Karume said: “If someone knows their child is part of the Mungiki they should plead with them to stop engaging in such activities.”
He warned that should they fail to reform, the government will continue the ruthless crackdown on the sect members.
And in a bid to counter reports of police colluding with the Mungiki to perpetrate criminal activities, Central Provincial Commissioner Japhter Rugut announced that he will transfer all police officers attached to Karuri police.
“I have ordered that the overhaul happen as soon as possible, so that we can restore confidence that the officers are here to maintain justice and to serve you as citizens,” he said.
He also ordered the area District Commissioner to deploy police officers to matatu termini from Thursday to provide security to matatu operators and ensure transport resumes to normal.

"500 Mungiki suspects are arrested in swoop, says PC"

by Antony Ndwigah ("Kenya Times," April 06, 2007)

Nairobi, Kenya - OVER 500 members of Mungiki sect have been arrested in Central province in a major crackdown conducted by the newly-formed special police squad (Anti-Mungiki) in the last one-week.
According to the Central Provincial Commissioner, Jasper Ruggut, the sect members have been arrested at Kiambu, Thika, Murang’a and Maragua district.
Ruggut said the sect had been active in the four districts and revealed that in Nyeri and Kirinyaga district the number of sect members were not many.
He said the operation conducted by newly-formed police squad composed of GSU, regular, administration police officers and intelligence officers have managed to bring normalcy in the matatu sector, especially in Thika and Kiambu districts.
The PC said that the Government was working with municipal councils in the province to streamline the transport operations since most of matatu and bus terminals were taken over by sect members who were harassing the matatu operators in those areas.
Ruggut also revealed that the Government has moved beyond bus terminals and now the security picking the sect members from their area of residence where they were hiding after receiving information from members of the public.
He said the district security team from Thika, Kiambu and Muranga districts have been instructed to form an intelligence team to deal with the sect menace in their respective areas.
He said the newly-created police unit will be patrolling from Murang’a to Nairobi throughout the day and night to ensure that those who proscribe into it were arrested and prosecuted.

"Current law on outlawed sects feeble, say police"

by Rose Welimo ("KBC News," April 04, 2007)

Nairobi, Kenya - Parliament should enact a law, imposing stiffer penalties against promoters of outlawed sects such as Mungiki.
Buruburu OCPD Joseph Maina Migwi says the current law related to outlawed sects in the country was weak and offered very little thus making the work of the police in wiping out the Mungiki menace extremely difficult.
The illegal sect has been accused of alleged involvement in robbery, car jacking, illegal collection of taxes and other social evils.
Migwi says the illegal Mungiki sect collects over 3 million shs per day in Nairobi alone from matatus, landlords and tapping of electricity and its distribution to unsuspecting customers.
Speaking in Nairobi the OCPD said since the introduction of community policing programme, the number of crime reported cases had increased, and wananchi were cooperating well with police to fight crime.
Meanwhile 95 suspected followers of the outlawed Mungiki sect have been arrested in Thika.
Thika deputy police boss, Jacob Okoko said the suspects wore no under garments and their ears were pierced in accordance with the norms of the sect.
Accompanied by chief inspector Thomas Muriithi, Okoko said the suspects were arrested in Kiangombe, Kiandutu, Kiganjo and Makongeni areas of Thika district.
Okoko assured the residents that the search for the outlaws would continue.

"Police crackdown on Mungiki suspects intensifies"

by Daniel Langat ("KBC News," March 31, 2007)

Nairobi, Kenya - Security officers have netted 914 suspects linked to the outlawed Mungiki sect, as the government intensifies its crack down on the sect.
According to Central Provincial Police officer Phillip Ndwigah the suspects also include 127 drivers and 38 touts suspected to be members of the sect who are believed to be collaborating with the sect members in harassing other matatu operators in the area.
Ndwigah said the nabbed drivers and touts are suspected to be the link persons with sect members who are not actively represented in the industry.
Ndwigah further said the exercise will be concentrated in Kiambu, Thika, Maragua and Murang'a districts which are worst hit by the sect activities.

Special police unit formed to fight Mungiki sect"

by Bernard Momanyi ("Capital FM," March 29, 2007)

Nairobi, Kenya - A special police unit has been set up to deal with members of the outlawed Mungiki sect, whose activities paralyzed transport in Kiambu, Thika and parts of Nairobi since Monday.
The unit consists of officers from the dreaded General Service Unit (GSU), regular and Administration Police, who will carry out frequent patrols on the affected routes.
The resolution was reached on Thursday during a high-powered meeting at Nyayo House led by Nairobi Provincial Commissioner James Waweru and his Central counterpart Japheth Rugut.
Other security officials who attended the meeting include Provincial Police Officers and Provincial Criminal Investigation Officers from the two provinces and all Nairobi divisional police commanders. Those from Kiambu, Thika and Murang’a were also present.
“We have resolved to establish a special unit which will be charged with the responsibility of identifying and dismantling Mungiki,” Waweru told journalists after the meeting.
The new unit, he said, will also be responsible for ensuring that no idlers are found at matatu termini in Thika, Kiambu and Nairobi.
Waweru declined to elaborate on the mandate of the newly established team but a senior police officer coordinating the team said they will all work directly under divisional CID commanders in their respective areas.
Rugut said they have also mandated the newly established unit to work jointly with members of the district security committees to help identify members of the sect.
“It is our responsibility to ensure matatu operators are not extorted by unscrupulous members of Mungiki. We have the capacity and I am sure we will win the war,” he said.
Rugut and Waweru have however warned members of the Matatu Owners Association (MOA) against forming their own team to fight members of the sect.
MOA members had threatened to form their own gang to counter Mungiki, citing police reluctance to fight the sect.
Police had also been accused of allegedly colluding with the Mungiki to terrorize and extort Matatu operators on the affected routes.
“The matter is under investigations and any security agent found to have been involved in such activities will face the full force of the law,” Waweru said.
A senior police source from Central Provincial Police headquarters told Capital News that several police officers have been questioned on suspicion of involvement in Mungiki activities.
Reports from Kiambu and Thika indicate that there was a gradual resumption of public transport on the affected routes as a few Matatus braved the routes and started operating.
The resumption followed an assurance by police that all Matatus plying the affected routes will be given maximum security.
More than 80 per cent of Matatu operators in the affected districts had grounded their vehicles in protest of the extortion and what they termed police laxity in searching for a Matatu crew who went missing on Monday.
Police are yet to confirm whether the conductor was abducted by members of the outlawed Mungiki sect.
A spot check by Capital News revealed that police officers were constantly patrolling the affected routes; with others riding in the Matatus to keep away members of the infamous sect.
The transport crisis sparked uproar in Parliament on Wednesday when legislators demanded to know why it has taken the police too long to contain the situation.
It is this widespread condemnation from the public that led to Thursday’s meeting which was hurriedly convened to find a lasting solution to the problem.
It is understood that the meeting was convened following a directive from Internal Security Minister John Michuki who ordered the two Provincial Commissioners to deliberate and identify a long-term solution to the Mungiki menace.

"‘Mungiki’ houses set ablaze"

by Evelyn Ogutu and Cyrus Ombati ("East Africa Standard," March 27, 2007)

Nairobi, Kenya - Angry touts burnt houses of suspected Mungiki followers in Githunguri, Kiambu District, while protesting against harassment by sect members.They acted after a tout was attacked and seriously wounded by people believed to be members of the sect in Ngara area, Nairobi.
The operators converged in Kiambu town at about 3pm before driving to Githunguri, where they burnt three houses belonging to a man they said they suspected to be a member of the sect.
Villagers fled as the looted the houses before setting them ablaze.
Kiambu OCPD, Mr Amos Cheboi, said they were questioning two leaders of the sect in connection with the allegations by the operators.
Meanwhile, commuters were stranded for the second day running after Public transport operators along Nairobi-Thika route boycotted work, protesting against harassment by Mungiki sect.
This happened even as police headquarters announced a fresh crackdown on the sect.
Operators staged another round of protest on Tuesday, claiming they feared for their lives over the Monday boycott in which they accused followers of the sect of extortion.
The operators protested to the Thika divisional police headquarters, seeking police protection. They said followers of the sect were still harassing them despite past protests.
"They are still demanding money on the roads and police are doing nothing to stop them," said one of the protestors.
Commuters in Thika were caught unawares as the operators pulled out of business forcing them to trek for long distance. Others had to use bicycles in the town to connect to their destinations.
Protesting drivers and touts said they would boycott duty until Internal Security minister, Mr John Michuki, assured them of security.
"We tried to visit him in Nairobi but police blocked us. The problem is bigger than what they think," added another tout.
They said members of the sect demand up to Sh500 daily to allow them to operate on the main Nairobi-Thika highway.

"Police arrest 800 Mungiki members"

("Standard," December 26, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - More than 800 suspected members of the outlawed Mungiki sect were arrested during Christmas.
The operation followed reports that the sect members were planning to attack a Nairobi estate.
Police said they had received information that followers of the sect planned indiscriminate attacks to protest the arrest of their former leader Mr Ndura Waruinge.
The police on Wednesday said the operation would continue to ensure safety of city residents. The suspects are being interrogated in various police stations in the city.
Nairobi Provincial Police Officer, Mr Njue Njagi, had earlier told The Standard they were aware of the reports and that measures had been taken to avert any such attacks.
"We will have our Christmas and New Year celebrations in January because for now every police officer is out there to ensure safety of the residents," he said.
Former sect leader locked up
A police post was set ablaze and vehicles stoned during the incident.
Police later summoned Waruinge and interrogated him for hours before locking him up and charging him a day later.
He was denied bail until next month when the hearing of the case will begin.
In 2002, members of the sect attacked residents of Kariobangi North killing more than 10 in an incident that sparked outrage.
The sect members have also forcefully taken charge of some matatu termini where they extort money from operators.
Internal Security Minister, Mr John Michuki, has declared war on the sect followers.

"Ex-cult leader charged over Kenyan slum clashes"

(Reuters, December 20, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - A Kenyan court on Wednesday charged a parliamentary candidate, who is also the former leader of an outlawed cult, with inciting violence after clashes killed three people in a Nairobi slum.
Fighting erupted on Sunday when police moved to ease tensions between two gangs in the massive Kibera slum where Ndura Waruinge planned to hold a political rally to drum up support for his parliamentary bid at next year's election.
Waruinge was once leader of the feared Mungiki sect and now wants to represent Kibera in parliament. The slum is in the constituency of Raila Odinga, a key opposition politician who has his eye on the presidency of the east African country.
"I am not guilty of the charges," Waruinge told Senior Principal Magistrate Rosemelle Mutoka when the charges of incitement to violence and preparing to commit a felony were read out to him in court.
Mutoka ordered him to remain in custody until Thursday when a ruling was expected on whether to release him on bond.
Odinga has accused the government of provoking the riots, saying President Mwai Kibaki was aware of the plan.
The government has denied any hand in the clashes.
Odinga is revered by many in his Luo tribe, Kenya's third-largest, while both Waruinge and Kibaki belong to the Kikuyu, the country's largest.
The two communities have held decades-long rivalries over political spoils stretching back to Kenya's independence from Britain in 1963.
Waruinge once led the outlawed Mungiki that has in the past been associated with murder, extortion and racketeering, usually in the slum areas.

"Former sect leader held after slum violence"

by Bosire Nyairo (Reuters, December 18, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - Kenyan police said on Monday a former cult leader was arrested after three people were killed in a gang clash over a planned political rally at Nairobi's Kibera slum supporting his run for parliament.
The rioting broke out in Kibera, East Africa's largest slum, on Sunday after police moved in to quell a standoff between supporters of former Mungiki sect leader Ndura Waruinge and a gang opposed to his political gathering.
Scores of people engaged in hours of running battles with each other and exchanged gunfire with police, who fired teargas and shot in the air to disperse the crowds.
Some people were shot, while others were beaten or stoned in the melee. At least three people died in the violence.
"He (Waruinge) has been arrested," Herbert Khaemba, the commander responsible for Kibera, told Reuters.
Waruinge, who had been ordered to a police station to make a statement, could not confirm this.
"I can't say I've been arrested and maybe I will be told," he told reporters outside the police station, before heading back in. "I'm a pastor and I cherish peace."
Waruinge, a Kikuyu like President Mwai Kibaki, plans to run in next year's general election for the parliament seat held by Raila Odinga, who is revered by many in his Luo tribe and is running for president.
Kibera, a sprawling, muddy hillside of tin-roof shacks overlooking Nairobi National Park, is in Odinga's constituency.
The Kikuyu and Luo, Kenya's largest and third-largest tribes respectively, have a rivalry over political spoils stretching back to Kenya's independence from Britain in 1963.
"The situation was provoked by agents of the state. Waruinge enjoys the support of the powers that be. This is part of a grand plan to rig next year's elections," Odinga told reporters.
Odinga, who has made a political career criticising the government and has been accused by rivals of inflaming tribal divisions in the past, said Kibaki was aware of the plan.
Waruinge is the former head of Kenya's outlawed Mungiki sect, a group that ostensibly espouses a return to traditional beliefs of the Kikuyu tribe. But police say Mungiki is involved in murder, extortion and racketeering.
The government declined to comment and police said they were not responsible for the killings.
"Our police were only armed with tear gas canisters. There was no policeman in civilian clothes. Civilians have guns. All over Nairobi there are arms in the wrong hands," Khaemba earlier told reporters.
Though Kenya, with East Africa's largest economy, is considered stable by regional standards, political violence is still common and has been heating up as the elections nears.
Politicians for years have stirred up tribal animosity and mobilised thugs to intimidate rival voters, especially in the poorest areas.
Roughly half of Nairobi's 3.5 million people live in slums and shanty towns where police rarely enter except to quell major disturbances.

"Kenyan police kill three in slum clashes"

(AFP, December 17, 2006)

Nairobi, Kenya - Three people were killed and several others wounded when Kenyan police clashed with residents of the capital's largest slum over a banned political rally, police and witnesses said.
Violence started when police moved in to block a former leader of Mungiki, a banned cult with criminal ties, from a holding the rally in Kibera slums in southern Nairobi.
Witnesses said the General Service Unit, a paramilitary wing of the Kenyan police, had opened fire on rioters, killing two, while a third was allegedly slashed to death.
"As far as I am concerned, my officers had no instructions to use live bullets. We are investigating the alleged shooting," said Nairobi police commander Njue Njagi.
Police officials said they were forced to open live fire after one of the demonstrators had fired at the security forces.
Doctors in the capital's Masaba hospital said six people were treated for gunshot wounds after the clash in Kibera, one of Africa's largest slums and home to an estimated 800,000 people.
"We are actually appealing to the public to come and donate blood so that we are in a position to save lives in Masaba," said Lillian Moraa, a nurse in the facility.
A passing cargo train was derailed, administration police booths and razed and several shops looted in several hours of violence, witnesses said.
Police had banned the rally by ex-Mungiki leader Ndura Wairunge, who plans to run against the influential Raila Odinga in next year's parliamentary elections.
Odinga, a vocal opponent of the government, blamed the national security office for the clashes, which has heightened tension in the city.
"The minister in charge of internal security is the one who should give an explanation. But if he has reached a point where he is the one who gives orders to his officers to shoot, you ask yourself who is going to protect us," added Odinga, who represents the area in the national assembly.
"We are urging the commissioner of police to arrest (the officers who shot people) immediately," he added.
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.
Last month, at least eight people were killed and thousands displaced from their homes when gang warfare rocked the capital's Mathare slums, home to about 400,000 people.
Police have warned of an upsurge in political violence in Kenya ahead of December 2007 general elections when President Mwai Kibaki is expected to face strong opposition from cabinet ministers he fired last year.
Early this month, police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of opposition supporters protesting a government decision to recognise a splinter faction of the country's main opposition party, Kenya African National Union (KANU).