Over 100 Mungiki sect members held for extortion

Kenyan police has detained 120 suspected members of a sect accused of extorting money from Nairobi’s minibus drivers. Kenyan media reports say authorities were ordered to crack down on members of the Mungiki and prevent demonstrations against the police.


Police arrested many of the suspects at matatu (minibus) stations in Nairobi on Monday evening and Tuesday morning.

“The suspects were arrested at matatu stages where they have been extorting money from matatu operators,” police commander Antony Kibuchi told reporters.

The suspects belong to a sect called the Mungiki, that blends Christian doctrines and traditional African practices. It has been blamed for macabre killings, abductions, and extortion and also controls several Muntatu lines in Nairobi.

On Monday, Kenya’s Daily Nation reported that the former head of the sect, Maina Njenga, has been put on a police watch list. The paper quotes an intelligence report, saying that Njenga met Mungiki members in Nairobi and allegedly funded demonstrations against the police.

“Security vigilance is necessary to forestall the planned demonstrations while a crackdown on the sect members and their activities needs to be sustained,” part of the report says.

Njenga has been campaigning against a new constitution to be submitted to a referendum in August, and is rumoured to be creating a political party ahead of the 2012 presidential election.

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