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Published:August 31st, 2007 04:12 EST
Chaos as Gangs attack in Slums

Chaos as Gangs attack in Slums

By Juliet Maruru

About 10 houses were burnt down and four people sustained cuts inflicted by machetes. Trouble started around two in the morning when a group of youths stormed the area and set on fire structures they claimed belonged to Mungiki followers.

However, the owners fought back, slashing four people including an elderly man with machetes. Later, the gang managed to enter into houses, flushing out occupants and torching the houses.

They claimed the occupants were Mungiki adherents who had re-grouped to harass Mathare residents. Nevertheless, a group of women denied the claims, saying there were no Mungiki followers in the slum.

Said one woman: "Since police killed several of them (Mungiki) here, there are no Mungiki people here. These people are harassing us for no reason."

The women claimed those who attacked them had come from the Kosovo area in the slum.

Kosovo was the May battleground where police killed over 20 youths in an operation on Mungiki followers. The Mungiki Sect has been accused of ritualistic brutality and the taking of blood oaths.

Police also dismissed the claim that Mungiki had returned. They said that these were just common gangs competing for territory. Kasarani deputy OCPD, Mr. Mboya Odero, said investigations revealed the two groups were quarrelling over the control of provision of 'services' in the area. The said services are in reality extortion of the locals. The gangs approach residents and offer them protection from criminals if they pay a certain fee. This is illegal but residents usually pay up out of fear of reprisals from the gangs.

 

Nairobi North DC, Ms Charity Chepkonga who visited the slum said a contingent of police officers would be deployed to provide security to the residents and urged the youth to shun violence.