700 'Mungiki' sect members surrender

Daily Nation/March 12, 2003
By Mike Mwaniki

More than 700 Mungiki followers have surrendered following a state amnesty as the government maintained the hunt for the outlawed sect's coordinator Ndura Waruinge continues.

Internal Security Minister Chris Murungaru today said those who gave themselves up to the police had been bonded to keep the peace, and released back to the community.

Speaking in Nairobi, Dr Murungaru said: "The Government has given those who have surrendered a new lease of life by linking them with social welfare organisations, and NGOs to assist in their rehabilitation and subsequent reintegration into the community...

"This has worked very well and I must admit that Mungiki activities have been largely suppressed by now following the move..."

Last month, Mungiki thugs brutally killed two policemen in the sprawling Dandora estate in Nairobi, in an alleged retaliation after three members of the outlawed sect had earlier died in battle with the police.

The fighting was triggered by what Mungiki thought was police support for a rival militia attempting to take over the Dandora route, which is one of the most lucrative commuter taxi (matatu) routes in the city.

Dr Murunguru said following the arrest of the sect's spiritual leader a Mr Kimunya - who is the father of Mungiki chairman Njenga Maina - activities of the outlawed sect had "tremendously" been brought down.

Said he: "Mungiki appears to be a family affair and the arrest of the spiritual leader has brought down its activities..."

The minister added: "The genesis of Mungiki is as a result of socio-political reasons including the prevalent poverty that existed earlier. I therefore, continue to urge members of the sect to come out and reintegrate with the rest of the society and take advantage of the good prospects that now exist now in the country..."

Dr Murunguru said this while addressing journalists after launching an Aids organising committee during a ceremony held at a Nairobi hotel.

Mungiki, the minister saids, came about during the infamous tribal clashes in 1992.

"It was a kind of community militia where the Kikuyus were trying to protect themselves from perceived persecution by other communities and that is something we cannot ignore...

"However, the scenario has now changed and we would like to see members of the outlawed sect integrate with the rest of society..." he said.

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