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Mungiki Sect Members Torch Slum Village

By Tervil Okoko, Panafrican News Agency, 9 December 2000

Nairobi, Kenya - Angry members of Kenya's controversial Mungiki sect Thursday raided Kiang'ombe slums in Thika town, about 25 miles north of Nairobi, and burnt 11 houses to avenge the recent killing of their two colleagues.

The raid left ten families homeless and property worth over Ksh 150,000 (about 1898.7 US dollars) destroyed.

Last week, two Mungiki adherents were lynched by a mob for allegedly attempting to rape two women in Kiang'ombe village.

Mungiki sect members have always found themselves on the wrong side of the law leading to running battles with the police. They sniff raw tobacco, preach female genital mutilation and are against the wearing of trousers by women.

A Thika town resident, Simon Gicharu, was injured and had been hospitalised following Thursday's raid.

Kiang'ombe slum is located near Kiandutu slums, where the two Mungiki followers were lynched last week.

Following the raid on Kiang'ombe, Kiandutu slum residents have decided to sleep outside their homes for fear of of being attacked at night by the Mungiki sect members, who had earlier threatened reprisals.

The area's local police chief, Peter Muthike, said police are patrolling the area round the clock.

According to the police, the Mungiki sect members had on Thursday used crude weapons during their raid of Kiang'ombe slums.

One of the dwellers, Mercy Kamau, whose four-room house was arsoned, said the group terrorised them before burning their houses.

"They were armed with pangas (machetes), clubs and metal rods.

We feared they might kill us if we raised the alarm. We fled as they petrol-bombed the houses," Ms Margaret Wanjiru, 46, told PANA Saturday.

Muthike said that he had installed a mobile police station at Kiandutu slum to patrol the area.

Kiang'ombe residents, however, believe the sect's members raided the slum Thursday to draw people's attention away from Kiandutu, their main target.