Mungiki Sect Suspects Get Life Terms for Murder

The Nation (Nairobi)/June 15, 2004

Three people, suspected members of the outlawed Mungiki sect, were yesterday jailed for life for killing a police officer.

Harrison Kagwe Ngure, Robert Mwangi Kiburi and Evan Kogi Kimani appeared before a Murang'a senior principal magistrate charged with the murder of constable George Waigwa on September 24, 2000.

However, magistrate Geoffrey Mwaura freed Mr Joseph Mwangi Muchiri and Mr Evan Irungu Mwangi for lack of evidence.

The five had been charged with Mr Waigwa's murder at Kanjahi trading centre in Mathioya Division, Murang'a District. Mr Waigwa was among police officers who had gone to disperse a gathering of Mungiki sect followers.

In his judgment, Mr Mwaura said that from the evidence given by prosecution witnesses, the police officer was killed while on duty.

He said that when the police officers arrived at the scene where about 300 Mungiki members were meeting, the crowd confronted the officers who fired in the air.

Mr Mwaura said that following the confrontation, Mr Waigwa was overpowered by the crowd, which also snatched his rifle. The weapon was later recovered.

"During the incident, the deceased suffered various deep machete cuts and died while undergoing treatment at Kiria-ini Catholic Mission Hospital," the magistrate said.

The magistrate rejected the convicts' claims that the charges were fabricated.

Meanwhile, Former leaders of Mungiki yesterday denied that members of the movement were involved in the killing of defectors.

"We all reformed and joined the mainstream churches and Islam in the best interest of everyone," said Mr Kimani Ruo, Mr Peter Njoroge Kamunya and Mr Isaac Kamondo Karuri in a statement.

They claimed the perpetrators were members of murder groups formed by politicians and former policemen to create fear to discredit the Government.

The three claimed that the "Cobra Police Squad" had been formed purposely to harass the reformed members and haul others to jail on fabricated murder charges.

This, they said, was another way of re-introducing detention without trial through the back door and appealed to the Kenya Human Rights Commission to address the matter.

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