Friday, May 25, 2007

The horrific crimes of Kenya's secretive Mungiki sect

BBC News:

Followers of Kenya's outlawed Mungiki sect were once known for tobacco sniffing, trademark dreadlocks and praying while facing Mount Kenya.

But the sect, which was banned in 2002, has undergone a metamorphosis since it first emerged in the 1980s.

It was inspired by the bloody Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s against British colonial rule.

Thousands of young Kenyans - mostly drawn from Kenya's largest tribe, the Kikuyu - flocked to the sect whose doctrines are based on traditional practices.

One theory has it that Mungiki was formed in 1988 with the aim of toppling the government of former President Daniel arap Moi. The sect was, at one time, associated with Mwakenya, an underground movement formed in 1979 to challenge the former Kanu regime.

However, the sect members have now turned to horrific crimes leaving behind mutilated corpses and a trail of blood and trauma.

In May, Mungiki followers are said to have brutally murdered six people in the country's central region, in what is said to be a revenge attack on people who had leaked information about their activities to the police.

For weeks, the outlawed sect members have been battling with public transport operators who refuse to pay protection fees to them.

Following the crisis, a crackdown on them was ordered by Security Minister John Michuki.

Police say the latest victims of the sect members were abducted and tortured before being hacked to death and their bodies dismembered.

Rights group urges Kenya to declare national crisis


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