Mungiki gang spreads terror

The Standard (Kenya)/December 29, 2005

The outlawed Mungiki sect is back in full force spreading terror among Kenyans.

A gang of 20 Mungiki members took over a bus terminus in Nairobi on Wednesday and demanded cash as police in Thika arrested 46 people believed to be members of the sect.

In Nairobi, sect members armed with machetes and knives took over the Kawangware terminus at 5am and terrorised public transport operators for an hour before police arrived and arrested eight of them. The incident sparked a demonstration by about 100 public transport drivers and conductors, who parked their vehicles at the terminus in protest.

The gang had arrived at the terminus just before 5am and demanded money from drivers and conductors who were preparing to ferry people to the city centre. Kawangware matatu chairman John Karuga said some of the conductors were dragged out of their vehicles and threatened with death.

"It was a very scary incident. They had sharp machetes and all they wanted was money," he said.

Harassing operators

Those who complied were issued with receipts written ‘Dakina Association. Route 46/56/4. Sh200.’

"We noticed they were Mungiki followers and alerted the police, but when they saw the Land Rover, they escaped into the market," he said.

Nairobi Provincial Police Officer Mwangi King’ori went to the scene accompanied by officers from the Scorpion Squad and Kilimani Police Station.

King’ori told the operators to work closely with the police to rid the business of cartels, adding that a police post would be established near Muslim School to curb insecurity in the area.

And Transport Assistant minister Njeru Githae said operators should not be forced to give money to gangs, adding that a meeting of stakeholders would be held to discuss management of termini.

Transport Licensing Board chairman Francis ole Kamwaro blamed Nairobi City Council for the incident.

"The council has refused to take over the terminus and that is why the cartels are harassing operators," he said.

In Thika, police arrested the suspected Mungiki members who were harassing operators at the bus terminus. Thika Officer Commanding Police Division Kirimi Ringera said those arrested were believed to be members of a gang that had been illegally collecting money from operators.

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