Special police unit formed to fight Mungiki sect

Nairobi, Kenya - A special police unit has been set up to deal with members of the outlawed Mungiki sect, whose activities paralyzed transport in Kiambu, Thika and parts of Nairobi since Monday.

The unit consists of officers from the dreaded General Service Unit (GSU), regular and Administration Police, who will carry out frequent patrols on the affected routes.

The resolution was reached on Thursday during a high-powered meeting at Nyayo House led by Nairobi Provincial Commissioner James Waweru and his Central counterpart Japheth Rugut.

Other security officials who attended the meeting include Provincial Police Officers and Provincial Criminal Investigation Officers from the two provinces and all Nairobi divisional police commanders. Those from Kiambu, Thika and Murang’a were also present.

“We have resolved to establish a special unit which will be charged with the responsibility of identifying and dismantling Mungiki,” Waweru told journalists after the meeting.

The new unit, he said, will also be responsible for ensuring that no idlers are found at matatu termini in Thika, Kiambu and Nairobi.

Waweru declined to elaborate on the mandate of the newly established team but a senior police officer coordinating the team said they will all work directly under divisional CID commanders in their respective areas.

Rugut said they have also mandated the newly established unit to work jointly with members of the district security committees to help identify members of the sect.

“It is our responsibility to ensure matatu operators are not extorted by unscrupulous members of Mungiki. We have the capacity and I am sure we will win the war,” he said.

Rugut and Waweru have however warned members of the Matatu Owners Association (MOA) against forming their own team to fight members of the sect.

MOA members had threatened to form their own gang to counter Mungiki, citing police reluctance to fight the sect.

Police had also been accused of allegedly colluding with the Mungiki to terrorize and extort Matatu operators on the affected routes.

“The matter is under investigations and any security agent found to have been involved in such activities will face the full force of the law,” Waweru said.

A senior police source from Central Provincial Police headquarters told Capital News that several police officers have been questioned on suspicion of involvement in Mungiki activities.

Reports from Kiambu and Thika indicate that there was a gradual resumption of public transport on the affected routes as a few Matatus braved the routes and started operating.

The resumption followed an assurance by police that all Matatus plying the affected routes will be given maximum security.

More than 80 per cent of Matatu operators in the affected districts had grounded their vehicles in protest of the extortion and what they termed police laxity in searching for a Matatu crew who went missing on Monday.

Police are yet to confirm whether the conductor was abducted by members of the outlawed Mungiki sect.

A spot check by Capital News revealed that police officers were constantly patrolling the affected routes; with others riding in the Matatus to keep away members of the infamous sect.

The transport crisis sparked uproar in Parliament on Wednesday when legislators demanded to know why it has taken the police too long to contain the situation.

It is this widespread condemnation from the public that led to Thursday’s meeting which was hurriedly convened to find a lasting solution to the problem.

It is understood that the meeting was convened following a directive from Internal Security Minister John Michuki who ordered the two Provincial Commissioners to deliberate and identify a long-term solution to the Mungiki menace.