At least 24 dead in clashes in central Kenya

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Clashes between members of the Mungiki sect and the residents of a Karatina village in Nyeri District killed at least 24 people in the African country Kenya on Tuesday. A further four people have been seriously injured and have been hospitalised after the incident. 37 people have been arrested by the police, who also seized weapons such as axes, clubs, and machetes.

The deputy police spokesman, Charles Owino, stated that the attacks occurred at night, after locals of the village attacked members of the Mungiki sect, claiming that the latter had been extorting money from them.

Witness reports say that a gang of young men with crude weapons conducted the killings between midnight and 2 a.m. in the Gathaithi-Kiangumara and Kiaruhiu villages.

Police say that the Mungiki is a sort of mafia, involved in kidnapping, murder, and extortion, amongst other activities. The sect says it has two million members in Kenya, and supports a return to tribal customs and traditions.