Six 'Mungiki' defectors arrested

Daily Nation/February 6, 2004
By Lucas Barasa and Paul Udoto

Six former outlawed Mungiki sect followers were yesterday arrested for defying police instructions to disperse during a demonstration.

They were part of hundreds of the sect's defectors who were demonstrating in Nairobi streets to protest against an alleged kidnapping of their Pastor, Jacob Karanja.

Anti-riot police lobbed teargas canisters into the demonstrators who had marched from Racecourse Road to the Nation Centre, some four kilometres away.

Chanting anti-Mungiki slogans and posters of Mr Karanja, the protesters, some wearing Akorino sect turbans, hesitated to disperse after they were ordered to do so by police, mainly from Kamukunji Police Station, who had trailed them in a lorry.

They kept regrouping as they walked away interfering with traffic, forcing police to chase them through the streets and arrest the six.

Mr Sammy Waweru Mwangi was ruthlessly beaten at the Racecourse/Ronald Ngala junction by a group of Mungiki followers for condemning their leader, Mr Maina Njenga. The attackers disappeared as fast as they had appeared.

Shortly before being assaulted by the Mungiki gang, Mr Mwangi had told journalists that defectors' lives were in danger.

He said: "We defected because Mungiki worships the devil and would like the Government to protect us."

Last month, four street preachers were seriously injured by Mungiki adherents. They were ambushed at the road while preaching.

Their worshippers scampered for safety as the gang chased them with clubs, machetes and swords.

Yesterday, the demonstrators claimed that Mungiki members still controlled some matatu routes in the city, including Kayole and Embakasi.

This is in defiance of Transport minister John Michuki's order that all routes be cleared of goons.

Another defector, Mr Peter Kuria, said if the Government offered them security, they would show it how to track down the sect's adherents.

"The Government should tell us whether it has failed to contain the Mungiki menace otherwise we shall take law into our own hands," Mr Shadrack Nyagah said.

The protesters said Mr Karanja, 30, who is also a musician, was kidnapped by the sect followers nine days ago while heading to a friend's house from Githurai at 7.30 am.

His wife, Ms Anna Wangoi Nderitu, said she suspected her husband, a father of one, had been kidnapped by the outlawed sect adherents as they had earlier expressed anger over his defection.

"We immediately reported the disappearance to Kamukunji Police Station and others but nothing has been done," she said.

The demo, they said, was meant to make the Government act and assure former Mungiki followers of protection.

The proscribed group members, they said, were not as organised as the Government had been made to believe.

One of the rules of the outlawed sect, they said, was that one does not leave once he/she joins, otherwise they would be killed, on the pretex, " it is God who has given us courage to do so."

They said the sect was devilish, accusing it of brainwashing members to participate in unlawful acts.

"I even wonder what made me join the sect and I always ask God why He allowed me to do so," Mr Peter Macharia said.

A renown artist, Mr Dominic Kibuika Mwai, popularly known as Nyegese, 29, and pastors Isaiah Mwangi, Ndungu Njenga, Elijah Mwangi, Elijah Maina and Chege Ndungu, said Mungiki could only wiped out if its commander, Mr Maina Njenga, was arrested.

They said although 75 per cent of former Mungiki followers had defected, the members were still everywhere in the country and operated underground cells, which they used to torture defectors.

"The problem is that when a member is killed, the body will never be found as it would be cut into pieces, packed in a bag and thrown into a nearby river," Mr Mwai said.

They said they believed the kidnapped pastor had either being killed or was being held at a hideout in Muranga.

They claimed the sect members had a list of seven pastors they wanted killed for allegedly being the ringleaders of defectors.

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