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Africa
Kenya arrests Mungiki cult leader
Eric Kiraithe, on the run for two years, is wanted in several cases of beheadings.
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2007 19:49 GMT
Police responded with a heavy-handed crackdown on the Mungiki gang killing scores of its members [AFP]

Kenya police have arrested a suspected leader of the outlawed Mungiki sect blamed for a string of shootings and beheadings in recent months.
 
Eric Kiraithe, the police spokesman, said on Thursday that Njoroge Kamunya, who has been on the run for two years, had been arrested earlier in the week in the outskirts of the capital, Nairobi.
Kiraithe said: "He was arrested and police are going on with investigation. We are investigating him in connection with robbery with violence."
 
Kamunya, in his mid-40s, was arrested at his home in Ongata Rongai, 20km outside the capital.
His cousin, who asked for anonymity for fear of police reprisals, said Kamunya was arrested in the presence of his wife and four children.
 
The Mungiki gang is blamed for the deaths of 15 police officers between April and June and 27 civilians this year. Kamunya has been on the run since April, when police issued an arrest warrant for him. Two other men have since been arrested.
 
Kamunya is the brother Maina Njenga, the former leader of the banned sect who was jailed in June for five years for illegal possession of arms.
 
Members of the sect were blamed for dozens of killings, with some of the victims beheaded and their body parts strewn in bushes mainly in Kenya's central province.
 
Police responded by killing scores of Mungiki adherents.
 
Kiraithe said: "We want to ensure that they [Mungiki] do not regroup again."
 
Once a pseudo-religious group of dreadlocked youths, who embraced rituals such as female circumcision, the Mungiki has fragmented into a criminal gang, notorious for activities such as extortion, murder, and harassment of women.
 
It drew thousands of unemployed youths from Kenya's largest Kikuyu tribe. Formed in the late 1980s, Mungiki, meaning multitude in the Kikuyu language, has drawn its resources from extortion and operated openly until it was banned in 2002.
Source:
Agencies
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