Mungiki strikes yet again, beheads 4

Kenya Times/May 22, 2007
By Mwagin Muiruri

In a renewed bizarre orgy of murders, Mungiki adherents struck yet again in Kiambu and Murang'a districts on Sunday night and beheaded four people among them a 70-year-old man.

And in a clear indication that the sect members have a message to for the Provincial Administration, all the four chopped heads were found dumped near chiefs' camps in the two areas.

This renewed wave of violence came barely 12 hours after Internal Security Minister, John Michuki while in Kangema on Saturday, declared total war on the sect's adherents saying "they will be phased out of the Kenyan Map unless they reverted to the rule of law and order."

In the Kiambu incident, a middle aged man Solomon Karinge Njenga's torso–a former matatu tout– was found yesterday morning badly mutilated and whose limbs and private parts had been severed from the body and disposed in a napier grass thicket a few kilometres from Banana town and the head dumped just a few metres from Karuri chief's camp.

According to his brother Michael Karanja, the deceased left the house at around 6 pm to deliver milk but never came back. When he tried calling him on his mobile in the morning he could not get through, only later to get the news that his brother's torso was on the wayside.

In a widening scope of attack, the three victims in Murang'a were not touts but they all hail from the insecurity-riddled area of Kahithe where grisly murders are almost a daily occurrence, area OCPD Muthoni Kinyua said.

She gave the names of the victims as Njeru Mwenda who was an area carpenter, the 70-year-old farmer Daniel Irungu as well as a 56-year-old mason in Nairobi and who had retreated to the village, Julius Mwangi. They are said to have been waylaid in separate incidents and beheaded on their way home at around 10 pm.

According to the police boss, Irungu and Mwangi were from having a drinking whereas Mwenda was from a neighbour's house to watch television. They were slaughtered in Kianjogu village of Kahuro division and had their mutilated heads abandoned just a few metres from the Murarandia chief's camp (one atop a tree, another in a chicken coop and the other in a bush with their torsos tossed in various locations within a radius of 50 metres.

And in a telephone interview, Michuki termed the two incidents as provocative to the security apparatus and railed at what he called "isolated cases of utter stupidity from a few outlaws engaging in pure cases of unprovoked murders targeting innocent people."

He said those involved have drawn the battle lines "very clearly" and that their dead end is obvious once the law enforcement agents catches up with them.

"Those few elements are living in misguided notion of make believe that they can win against the rule of law. Their end is certain since the police are after them. It is just a matter of time before they are caught," Michuki said.

He said that by depositing the chopped heads near chiefs' camps it was an obvious "desperate act of intimidation" and that the official position was that this was a case of utter provocation which would be punished with the full force of the law."

"If it is intimidation they are after, they have failed since what the security agents have translated the move to mean is a pure case of provocation. It is important that those behind the murders realise the world over that no agency enjoys a monopoly of violence better than security instruments. We will prove that to them," Michuki said.

Defence Minister Njenga Karume and area MP visited the scene accompanied by the area District Commissioner Lawrence Lenayapa and promised the fear stricken residents that the government would work round the clock to ensure the perpetrators of the bestial act were brought to book.

"All that I appeal to is calm. Know that the government will do everything possible to apprehend the perpetrators of this violence and bring to an end their operations within Kiambu," Karume said.

The two urged the matatu operators within Kiambu district to cooperate with the police and desist from contemplating taking the law into their hands if only to avert a vicious cycle of retaliatory attacks.

By the time of going to press, Central Police Boss Philip Ndwiga reported that "several" suspects had been arrested for both the Kiambu and Murang'a incidents. But he said investigations were going on to establish the motives behind the murders.

The new casualties come in quick succession of the Friday night beheading of a 20-year-old matatu conductor David Njinu whose severed head was found dumped at Kiambu's main matatu terminus with his torso and private parts dumped in a thicket 500 metres away from his Ndumberi home compound.

Reacting to the incident while addressing mourners during a burial ceremony for Mrs Gacambi Mwangi at St. John Mukarara Anglican church in Kangema, Michuki declared total war on members of the outlawed sect.

He consequently declared all matatu termini as security zones and directed security agents to camp there to rout out touts and route managers whom he branded as "dangerous criminals."

The incidents mark the third month since the Mungiki menace erupted in Kiambu district pitting matatu operators against sect members. At first, it was the matatu operators resisting payment of route fees ranging from Sh100 to 200 which in respond the sect members petrol bombed five commuter vehicles, three of them while parked in the heart of the capital city's Accra Road.

Earlier on, police had concentrated their operations in tracking down one of the most dangerously armed and violent robber of recent times Simon Matheri Ikere in Kiambu's Gachie village after cases of murders of business men became rampant in the area. Matheri was eventually gunned down in March.

Later afterwards, in the free bloodletting that ensued in Kiambu, the matatu operators responded by killing two suspected sect followers and torched six houses.

This month, the sect members seem to have concentrated on kidnapping and beheading the matatu crew though in this recent Murang'a incident it appears the scope is widening to even other occupations.

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