Kenya police slay five suspected members of killer sect

Nairobi, Kenya - Kenyan police said Monday they had killed five suspected members of a banned sect blamed for a string of recent murders and beheadings.

Police commander Maina Migwi said officers, working on a tip-off, had trailed and eventually engaged in a shootout with a group of suspected Mungiki gang members.

Migwi said they recovered two rifles, including an AK 47, 29 rounds of ammunitions jungle fatigues, machetes and knives.

Once a religious group of dreadlocked, snuff-snorting youths who embraced traditional rituals such as female circumcision, the Mungiki sect has fractured into a politically-linked gang.

The group has been blamed for at least 40 murders since March. Police say they have killed at least 43 Mungiki members.

Banned in 2002 following deadly slum violence, the gang is notorious for criminal activities including extortion and murder.