News 2008


New Squad Formed to Crack Down On Mungiki

The East African Standard (Nairobi)

7 March 2008

Cyrus Ombati And Maseme Machuka


Another squad has been formed to crack down on Mungiki sect followers.

The squad, which will be based at CID headquarters, has been instructed to investigate and bring to book those behind the Wednesday protests by sect followers in Nairobi.

Sources in the force said some top Government officials were shocked and upset by the demonstrations.

"It was embarrassing for them to come up at this time. There is already a team in place to, if possible, track down all those who participated in the illegal demonstration," said a senior police officer.

By Thursday, sources said the anti-Mungiki squad had gathered crucial leads that would lead to arrests.

Some officers spent Wednesday night in parts of Central Province and Nairobi investigating.

Nairobi PC, Mr James Waweru, admitted that security machinery was caught off guard when about 3,000 followers staged a demo in the streets.

"It was unfortunate that the sect ambushed us and we were doing a catch up chase game with them. However, our security agents reacted fast to push the sect out of the CBD," said Waweru. He was speaking in his office when he met the Nairobi Peace Forum initiative.

But sources said some senior officers in Nairobi area police command had been tipped of the planned protests and brushed it aside.

The majority of the sect followers were ferried from Murang'a and Maragwa.

Waweru said investigation into the issue was being conducted professionally.

"We have launched investigation on the motive of this sect and we will soon be closing in on people behind them," he added.

Police spokesman, Mr Eric Kiraithe, also said investigation into the incident had been launched with an aim of making "arrests and prosecution".

"Mungiki is a criminal gang and we will not allow that to happen. They will regret what they did on Wednesday," said Kiraithe.

He added that the sect remains a banned movement.

Hundreds of Mungiki followers staged a dramatic demonstration in Nairobi on Wednesday demanding the release of their chairman, Maina Njenga.

While chanting "No Maina No Peace" slogans, the demonstrators went through several streets for about 30 minutes before they were dispersed near Central police station. They described Njenga as a hero who had been forgotten.

An anti-Mungiki squad - Kwekwe, which was formed last year, was disbanded in January. Kwekwe quelled the sect activities even though it was accused of extra judicial killings.