Police hit squads engaged in a vicious war with the criminal
Mungiki sect are in the spotlight following the killing of scores of people
whose bodies have been dumped in the Ngong Forest area.
An official of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
displays clothes of men executed in a thicket in the Magadi Road area of
Presently, there are two prime units fighting Mungiki
The official face of the war is the Kwekwe squad headed by
an Assistant Commissioner of Police based at Nairobi area CID headquarters.
The other is a team comprising a handful officers headed by
a Chief Inspector who has direct access to Police commissioner Hussein Ali.
In the normal line of duty, the officer in charge would go
through at least eight senior officers to reach Maj Gen Ali.
According to sources, the squad is mandated to even engage
in Mungiki antics in pursuing its targets.
The squad does not have a permanent base as it is largely
mobile, traversing known Mungiki strong holds in Eldoret, Nakuru, Nairobi and
towns in Central and Eastern provinces.
The special team has new vehicles at its disposal but fitted
with old registration number plates to camouflage their activities.
Its officers are adequately funded with money being sent to
their bank accounts regularly, for personal upkeep as well as gathering
The officers only report to Nairobi headquarters to
replenish their bullet stocks.
Among other tasks, they are expected to furnish Vigilance
House, the police headquarters, with criminal profiles of their targets and
cannot take any action without the authority of those who study them.
These are the squads that have been linked to what is being
referred to as the killing fields in which bodies of people are dumped in
scattered remote areas around Nairobi, all having been executed.
Since July, 5, the Nation has kept a tally, 38 bodies have
been collected in deserted lands in Naivasha, Nyandarua and Machakos districts,
and other uninhabited places in Nairobi.
Initial investigations show all the victims were brutally
Nine of them had been strangled and inflicted with deep cuts
using sharp objects, the rest died after being shot several times at a close
The victims were men as young as 17 years and not above
Other sources who spoke on condition of anonymity alleged
the number of people killed since June is way above 400, the majority having
been disposed without trace.
A man linked to top Mungiki hierarchy has been missing since
he was freed by the court.
The same day, the source told the Nation that 18 people were
shot dead, and their bodies thrown into the crocodile-infested River Tana. There
are no chances of ever finding traces of the victims.
None of the known underground gangs has claimed
responsibility and police too have failed to explain the events.
Another common track is all victims had either been linked
to Mungiki activities or had been questioned by police in connection with
serious crimes, several weeks before they went missing.
Some of the victims have been buried after being identified
by relatives and friends while others lie in the mortuaries unclaimed.
Take the blame
Fingers are being pointed at police who have moved not to
take the blame. Police spokesman Eric Kiarithe linked the killings to a band of
killers whose motive is yet to be established.
The chairman of the parliamentary committee on
administration of justice and legal affairs, Mr Paul Muite, said: "It's
extremely serious the way the nation appears to have accepted extra judicial
killings by police in the name of fighting Mungiki and other criminals."
Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe has moved to defend the
Force, describing the events as "pure murders which are being investigated and
suspects will soon be charged in court."
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) has
also stated that insecurity has hit frightening heights.
Asked if the bizarre executions are an aftermath of a war
launched by police against the Mungiki, Mr Kiraithe noted: "Police suspects will
always be taken to court if there's enough evidence. Officers will never use
bullets in such circumstances."
In normal police shootings, officers claim responsibility on
the spot. Usually a police commander, normally an OCPD in whose area of
jurisdiction the shooting occurred, is captured on TV cameras giving an account
of the incident.
The commander displays firearms, allegedly "recovered from
suspects after they are gunned down."
Among the victims identified so far, whose bodies were found
by a river in Machakos District, are a parliamentary aspirant in Embakasi, Mr
John Maina Kaibere and his friend Samuel Maina alias Mukorino, a cousin.
The Nation did not immediately identify two other bodies
found at the scene.
They went missing on August 16, but the families learnt of
their fate two weeks later, after the bodies were traced to a mortuary
Initial investigations showed the two had been
Police in the city had launched a search two days after the
disappearance because a vehicle belonging to one of the victims had been found
reduced to a shell after being set ablaze at Dagoretti.
The bizarre deaths tracked the deaths to July 5, when the
first five bodies were discovered at a remote plain in Stony Athi, Machakos
They were identified as matatu conductor Josphat Githutha
Nyambura, 26, and Gideon Maina who were later buried at the city's Lang'ata
Maina Kamau, 22, was buried in Kangema in Murang'a District,
and Mr Nderi Njagi at his native Embu district. The other was Joseph
According to their relatives and friends, the five had been
arrested by police at the Mathare North matatu stage three days before their
bodies were found.
Reports showed they were held at the Industrial Area police
station. Officers there said the suspects were released and declined to take
responsibility on what befell them afterwards.
Barely three weeks after, herders at a ranch in Kisamis,
Ngong, discovered two decomposing bodies. They had no visible injuries like stab
and bullet wounds.
On July 23, two others were found in Kiamumbi on the border
of Kiambu and Nairobi Districts. They had ropes round the necks.
The latest victims found last Sunday had their hands bound
to the back with bullets wounds in the legs, chest, stomach and heads.
They were found by passers by at dawn, sprawled at an
uninhabited field near a rail line, several kilometres from Kenyatta University
and are yet to be identified.
A day earlier, two Matatu Welfare Association (MWA)
officials who had disappeared from Nairobi a week before were found dead, having
The bodies of Mr George Waweru Kamwene and Mr Charles Mungai
Gathumbi were collected by police at a forested and remote area of Suswa,
Naivasha District on August 19.
Relatives said they were last seen alive the day before at
the Old Nation House roundabout and Mr Kamwene had attempted to call his lawyer
and shortly after his phone went dead.
A week prior to the disappearance Mr Gathumbi had been held
for five days at the Makongeni police station while Mr Kamwene had been arrested
and released shortly after.
Presently, there are 10 unclaimed bodies at the Naivasha
mortuary, all brought in by police. All have bullet wounds and were received at
the mortuary already decomposing.
On September 18, bodies of five men were recovered from
Residents discovered the bodies floating in a section of the
river, near the KenGen power station and called the police.
They were taken to the Machakos district hospital
One of the victims had a bullet wound in the stomach while
the others seemed to have been strangled.
The victims were not immediately identified but officers who
viewed them said one was dressed in "an expensive suit."
The Naivasha mortuary records show more bodies were
collected from Njambini, Nyandarua, Suswa, and Mai Mahiu.
Suspected Mungiki coordinator in Rift Valley Kimani Ruo has
also gone missing and the matter is pending in court.
KNCHR commissioner in charge of security matters Hassan Omar
said two families have so far launched complaints with them.
He said: "The victims had been trailed by uniformed police
officers and others in plain clothes before their bodies were found. He went on:
"Police cannot acknowledge murders. The solution is to involve civil society,
political, professionals and business brass in security matters."
Referring to the riddle of the Naivasha bodies Mr Muite
said: "These are people who several days before had been arrested and questioned
by the police."
He also feared the toll could rise in the coming weeks.
"Many families have not been able to follow the death of
their kins. Some are incapacitated because they had no contact with relatives
for a long time or their lack the necessary funds to follow the matter in
courts," said Mr Muite.
But he also warned that should the killings fail to be
checked, it could be a step away from political executions.
"However slow and painful the rule of law could be, we have
to stick by it. The solution is to increase motivation to the police and
judicial officers by paying and equipping them well," he added.
Mr Kiraithe has also called for patience saying rushing to
conclude murder investigations would be unfruitful.
"We want to present cases that can satisfy the Judiciary. We
can't rush the investigations for the Government to incur liability because of
insufficient evidence," he added.
Police have also complained of inadequate laws to fight the
Mungiki menace saying most suspects were being set free by the courts, and have
called on parliament to pass the proposed Prevention of Organised Crime
Mr Kiraithe enumerated police achievements so far against
"We can boast the war has been won. A lot of progress has
been achieved. The beheadings have disappeared because Mungiki network is
virtually dismantled and their (Mungiki members) sources of finance is almost
crippled," he said.
The current security situation arose after another in the
preceding three months in which more than 100 people were killed and millions of
property destroyed in confrontations by Mungiki sect members against the police
and business people in parts of Nairobi and Central provinces.