Police told to crush Mungiki

Nairobi, Kenya - Police have been directed to stamp out criminal gangs like Mungiki and vigilante groups in parts of the country.

Addressing Kenyans at Monday’s Madaraka Day celebrations at the Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, President Kibaki said the groups were a big threat to security and needed to be dealt with firmly.

“I am concerned at the threats posed by organised criminal gangs, militias, commercial cattle rustlers and vigilante forces. This is the reason why security forces are under strict instructions to deal firmly and swiftly with those who threaten the lives and property of our people,” the President said.

Vigilante gangs in Kisii have been burning to death those accused of witchcraft.

Most recently, vigilante groups have emerged in Central Kenya, killing suspected Mungiki sect members.

Mungiki is blamed for numerous killings in Nairobi and Central Province, with the most recent atrocity being in Kirinyaga, where 30 people were murdered in a single night.

The President’s directive comes at a time when the government is in the international spotlight for alleged police executions of youths suspected to be members of criminal gangs.

Internal Security minister George Saitoti will on Wednesday defend the government against the claims at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings and summary executions, Prof Philip Alston, who produced the damning report, will take the stand against the government at the same forum.

More money

President Kibaki said police would be allocated more money from Treasury.

“Funding for the judicial system, that is the Judiciary, State Law Office, Police Service and Prisons Department will be substantially increased,” he said.

The President also directed police to assign more personnel to investigations to ensure water-tight cases are taken to court.

“We must have sufficient officers. No doubt, other aspects of reform will be implemented once the relevant task forces’ recommendations are received,” he said.

A Police Reforms Task Force has been set up to transform the force to world standards.

The President also assured Kenyans that the armed forces were prepared to fend off any external aggression.

Kenya is embroiled in a dispute with Uganda over the border running across Lake Victoria. A joint survey by experts from both countries kicks off on Tuesday.

“Kenya has the will and capacity to protect her territorial integrity and the welfare of her people. But we must not be a nation of warmongers but a land of people who cherish peace,” he said.

“We seek to live in peace with our neighbours. Nevertheless, we shall resist threats to our freedom and peace, and our security agencies have been detailed to deal firmly with threats from any quarter.”