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

"Converted mungiki leader is baptised"

by Margaret Kalekye and George Kithuka ("Kenya Broadcasting Corporation," December 06, 2009)

Nairobi, Kenya - Mungiki Leader Maina Njenga who converted to Christianity was on Sunday baptized by Bishop Margaret Wanjiru of Jesus Is Alive Ministries.
Njenga who will be known as brother John was baptized alongside hundreds of youths who got saved after abandoning the proscribed sect.
Njenga denounced the sect and its activities in later October after his release from prison.
The High Court in Nyeri acquitted Njenga of murder charges in the Mathira massacre where 29 people were hacked to death.
He had been in custody for 29 months.
Bishop Wanjiru who is also the Starehe MP and Housing assistant minister urged mungiki followers to abandon their evil ways and get saved.
Speaking to the press after the baptism, Bishop Margaret said her ministry was on a mission to redeem the youth of this country particularity in Central Kenya from getting lost and urged the government to partner with the church to transform the youths.
By getting baptized, John Maina Njenga follows in the footsteps of former Mungiki leader and comrade Ndura Waruinge who abandoned the sect after he became a born again Christian and has since earned the title of a pastor.
Maina who had gone into hiding after receiving death threats declared he was a changed man noting that his baptism was a new dawn for Central Province where the dreaded sect is believed to have originated from.

"Nine suspected Mungiki members killed"

("Afrol News," November 12, 2009)

Nairobi, Kenya - Kenya police have killed nine alleged gang members of Mungiki militia accused of serious atrocities including beheading people, the police chief has said.
Police chief, Mathew Iteere, said nine guns and 100 rounds of ammunition were also seized in a 12-hour operation in the capital, Nairobi, that began late on 10 November. “Police are investigating cases of kidnapping, rape, extortion, robbery and murder allegedly committed by Mungiki members," Mr Iteere said.
According to the Chief officer, the gang is responsible for murder cases, kidnappings and other armed crime in Nairobi and other parts of the country.
Local reports said eight suspected Mungiki members were arrested in Ngong on Tuesday night and two AK 47 rifles were recovered.
“We would like to warn the public that the Mungiki criminal gang is responsible for several cases of kidnap, rape, extortion, illegal possession of firearms, robbery with violence and murder. These cases are under investigation around the country,” Mr Iteere said at a press conference at Vigilance House, Nairobi.
The warning comes just days after Njuguna Gitau, the spokesman of the Kenya National Youth Alliance, Mungiki’s political wing, was shot dead in Nairobi.
Mungiki leader, Maina Njenga, who is now a born-again after murder charges against him were dropped, has also said his life is in danger.
The Mungiki gang was officially banned in 2002. In 2007 more than 100 suspected sect members were killed in a police crackdown after a series of grisly beheadings blamed on the sect.

"Vigilantes, Mungiki brace for war"

by CCI Team ("The Standard," November 04, 2009)

Nairobi, Kenya - The ghosts of the outlawed Mungiki sects have returned to haunt some parts of central Kenya.
Since the release of the sect leader Maina Njenga, tension has heightened in parts of Nyeri and Kirinyaga districts. Njenga has since his acquittal embraced Christianity. Last Sunday he urged Mungiki sect members to follow suit.
However, CCI investigations established that vigilante groups, which were outlawed by the Government after the killing of dozens of people in the area, have resurfaced. They are now readying themselves to offer protection to the villagers against attack from Mungiki.
Members of Mungiki are also becoming bolder, threatening to launch retaliatory attacks following the lynching of their colleagues at Ihwagi village in Mathira a fortnight ago.
Real threats
Ephraim Murimi, a member of a vigilante group in Mukinduri area, Kirinyaga, said local residents have not been sleeping as they wait for Mungiki to attack.
"We have mobilised our members to be extra vigilant. Most of us are patrolling our village at night because we don’t think that the police are providing adequate security," said Murimi.
He said members of the vigilante group were aware that the Government had outlawed their operations but they had been forced by circumstances to continue patrolling their areas.
"We know what these boys (Mungiki) are capable of doing. So many times they have outwitted the police but at least we the locals know how they operate," said Murimi.
Already, the might of the vigilantes has been exhibited by the recent killings of two youths in Ihwagi village in Mathira on suspicion that they were members of the sect.
The two, one of them a secondary school student, were brutally executed by members of a vigilante group in an area near Gathaithi village in Mathira where 29 people were massacred on April 21.
The two were flushed out of their houses by a gang of about 60 people who tied their hands from behind before chillingly slitting their throats open and leaving them by the roadside.
Charles Muriuki, 22, a form two student at Gikumbo Secondary School and Patrick Kamau Mbogo, 27, were killed by members of a vigilante group on suspicions that they were members of Mungiki.
In yet another incident in Kirinyaga, a suspected Mungiki member was brutally attacked by a mob before police arrived and saved him.
Francis Wanjohi Gathanji, who is currently undergoing treatment at the Kerugoya District Hospital, told CCI from his hospital bed that he was too terrified to return to his home in Ndiriti Village.
"They were determined to kill me. I am no longer a member of the sect but my attackers refused to heed my pleas," said a heavily bandaged Gathanji.
Gathanji said he knows his attackers but police were reluctant to arrest them.
Two days after these attacks, sect members circulated leaflets in several parts of Kirinyaga warning of imminent attacks.
The leaflets, which are written in Kikuyu, have caused panic in the area that was the epicentre of a major conflict between sect members and vigilante group members, leading to the death of dozens of youths.
Killing for honour
The leaflets, which were distributed a fortnight ago, warned that the sect would get a number of human heads as an honour to their leader Maina Njenga, who was recently released from prison. Njenga was facing 29 counts of murder relating to the killings in Mathira. The Attorney General terminated the case against .
himResidents woke up only to find the leaflets, which were distributed at village centres and on roads, warning them to brave for a strike anytime.
The leaflets partly read: "Ithui andu a mungiki Kirinyaga o handu yaruma, nitwihitite ati, kwirihiria no nginya twirihirie maunduini maria twikitwo ni andu a Kirinyaga (We members of Mungiki from every corner of Kirinyaga have vowed that we must revenge on the ills that have been meted on us by people from the area.)"
The notes are addressed to the residents of such areas like Kagumo market, Karaini, Kangaita, Ndiriti, Kiamaina Gatwe and Kerugoya town.
Others were residents of Kibingo, Mukinduri, Kiawaruguru, Kianjege, Kagio, Baricho, Kibiru, Kiania, Kabonge Kamuiru and Gathiti.The leaflets warn that Mungiki will get several heads from these villages as a statement that they have received their leader, Njenga, back from prison.
But even as this happens, the police are still in denial that the vigilantes are regrouping.
Kirinyaga acting OCPD Mr Patrick Oduma denied the existence of the vigilantes and said police were on top of things.
Oduma said police will not allow any act of lawlessness associated with the vigilantes on suspected members of Mungiki. He declined to comment further on the issue.
The CCI team visited Kagumo market, Kangaita, Mukinduri, Ndiriti, Kiamaina, Gatwe and Kerugoya town where members of different vigilante groups confessed that they were on high alert to prevent a possible Mungiki retaliatory attack.
Government’s failure
Tension that has been building in these areas has made it almost impossible for the locals to open up to strangers.
The Mungiki topic is discussed in low tones and the villagers would not open up to persons unknown to them.
In Kagumo market, the area where the notorious kangaroo court nicknamed The Hague was based, the vigilantes have a list of the names of the perceived trouble makers.
The Hague is the are where vigilante groups would hold mock trial before mercilessly killing those suspected to be members of Mungiki.
"We know their ringleaders and police have this information. We are daring them to carry out an attack and we will be on their doorsteps," said Paul Mithamo, a village elder in Kagumo.
He said the vigilante group had been strengthened as a result of failure by police to protect the locals from the Mungiki menace.
"We had to take law in our hands since the Government seems reluctant to get rid of these dangerous boys. They may outlaw our operations but we can’t sit and watch as our people are butchered," Mithamo said.

"Eight held as police break up night oath"

by George Munene ("Daily Nation," November 01, 2009)

Nairobi, Kenya - Eight people were arrested when police broke up an illegal oathing ceremony in Kirinyaga South district. More than 30 other suspected members of the outlawed Mungiki sect escaped arrest at Ng’othi village in Mwea division.
Those arrested, some sporting dreadlocks and wearing long jackets, were locked up at Sagana police station. During the Saturday night operation police confiscated two goats, five machetes, herbs, tobacco, Bibles, hymn books, sufurias (cooking pots), and two motorcycles which were used to ferry the paraphernalia.
Led by area deputy police head Patrick Oduma, the law enforcers raided a hut belonging to a sect leader and found the youths aged between 22 and 38 taking oath. The sect leader also escaped the police dragnet. Residents said the sect members would have launched mass killings after they were through with their ceremony.
“We suspect that the youths were taking the oath in preparation for mass killing of residents in the area,” a villager who sought anonymity said. Mr Oduma said police acted quickly on receiving the information. “We caught them red handed,” he said.
He said police have been alert since leaflets were spread in the area last week. The leaflets believed to have been authored by Mungiki sect were found scattered at Kamuiru, Kagio and Kiamaina and other trading centres on Wednesday.
They warned that the sect members would raid the area any time from October 24 to avenge the killing of their two colleagues by vigilantes. Elsewhere, a human rights activist has blamed the rise of vigilante attacks to the failure by the justice system.
Nakuru-based David Kuria cited the recent killing of two suspects in Mathira, as a trend which he said is likely to spread to other parts of the country if no action is taken.
While condemning the killings, Mr Kuria said the only way to end such killings is to carry out major reforms at Attorney General’s office which has failed to build strong cases against murder suspects.
“The buck stops with the AG’s office which has weak prosecutors and investigators who are not competent enough to handle murder cases,” said Mr Kuria.