Wife of jailed leader of notorious Kenyan sect murdered: police

AFP/April 12, 2008

As part of plea bargain, Tel Aviv District Court convicts four youths Nairobi - The wife of the jailed leader of a banned sect blamed for beheadings and murders has been killed and her mutilated body recovered from a bush in central Kenya, police said Friday.

The body of Virginia Nyakio, the wife of politically linked Mungiki sect leader Maina Njenga, was recovered in Gatungu forest, a police commander said. She had been kidnapped last Tuesday.

Alongside her remains were three mutilated bodies of people who were seized together as they headed home in the capital Nairobi.

"The decomposed bodies had deep cuts in the head, neck and other parts," a police commander told AFP, requesting to remain unnamed.

The four bodies were taken to the capital's city mortuary and identified later on Friday, the officer added.

Njenga was jailed in June last year for two years for possessing cannabis after authorities failed to prove murder charges against him. He has failed in numerous attempts to secure freedom through appeals.

Family members said Njenga, though in prison, was the first to know that his wife was missing.

Njenga's Mungiki sect was once a religious group of dreadlocked youths who embraced traditional rituals, but the authorities say it has evolved into a ruthless gang responsible for extortion and murder.

Since March last year, the sect has been blamed for murdering dozens of people, including 14 beheadings, mainly in slum districts of the capital Nairobi and in central Kenya.

Police have responded with a crackdown in which they have killed scores of Mungiki adherents.

The sect, mainly drawn from President Mwai Kibaki's Kikuyu tribe, has been accused of carrying out some of the killings that occurred in the wake of the country's disputed December election, when at least 1,500 people died.

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