Funeral service held for Karatina massacre victims

Nairobi, Kenya - Hundreds of mourners Thursday thronged Ndiriri Primary School grounds in Ndia constituency, Kirinyaga West district for a mass funeral service for twelve victims of last week's Karatina massacre.

A sorrowful mood engulfed the ground as the twelve white coated caskets with crosses inscribed with the names of the victims were lined up on wooden benches among religious leaders, dignitaries' and the mourners.

The victims were all relatively young people born between 1970 and 1991 except Francis Wachira who was born in 1964.

President Mwai Kibaki sent a message of condolences to families which was read by Gender, Children and Social Development minister Esther Murugi.

In his message, Kibaki urged leaders to explore avenues of creating employment for the youth to discourage idleness and emphasized on the need for community policing in curbing crime.

He asked the provincial administration to use all intelligence gathered to thwart such incidents in future.

Murugi on her part blamed parents, religious leaders and teachers for failing to shape the youth into responsible adults adding that there was need to accord the youth a conducive environment for them to develop.

"We have a duty to find a permanent solution to the problems affecting the youth in the country," she said.

Speaking during the service, Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa called for a comprehensive youth policy that will address the problems facing young people in the country.

He said that the problems bedeviling the youth in Central Province were not unique to the area was spread across the nation.

Assistant minister for local government Njeru Githae who is also the area MP led mourners in declaring a total war on drugs and illicit liquor.

Gichugu MP Martha Karua said there was need for consultation between leaders, the youth and parents to find a permanent solution to the youth problem in the region.

The former Justice Minister warned against tagging names to criminals noting that every individual should be treated according to his/her actions.

The 12 were among 29 people killed by suspected members of the Mungiki sect who were ostensibly on a revenge mission after their members were killed by vigilantes.