The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Tigania Gang Terrorises Residents

Residents of Buuri sublocation in Tigania East district staged demonstrations protesting against a gang that has been kidnapping people fighting archaic traditional practices. The gang kidnaps people who oppose female genital mutilation and support an alternative rite of passage for boys. They have been harassing human rights activists and kidnapping women who have refused to undergo the cut and men who have not passed through traditional circumcision.

The residents said last week a form three student at Nchuui Secondary School was stabbed to death for refusing to undergo training for traditional circumcision. They claim Eliud Mutuma resisted his kidnappers and they stabbed him. He died while undergoing treatment at Tigania Mission Hospital."The gangs have been harassing women and young boys who are opposed to traditional rites of passage.

We have tried to seek help from the area assistant chiefs but nothing has been done," said Geoffrey Karauri one of the residents."The gang is advocating for circumcision of boys to be done in the fields by traditional circumcisers. Our children and wives are under threat and we need security," Karauri added. Karauri said his son was a victim when he was abducted and lost his phone and clothes to the gang and the local administrators have not been able to arrest the perpetrators of the crimes.

According to Daniel Kanake a victim of the gang, the group broke into his home and demanded that he prepares a traditional brew for them for the initiation of his son for taking his son to hospital for cut against their customs. "They waylaid my son and stormed my home demanding traditional brew. We are not ready to go back to the retrogressive rites. The chiefs seem to be protecting crooks as we suffer," Kanake said.

Ms Monica Mwari said the boys who have circumcised the traditional way have no respect for teachers in school since they have been taught that they are mature men. "Some circumcised boys have refused to remain in lower classes. They are also threatening to beat up teachers who reprimand them," she said. Evangelist Peter Thiribi urged the government to take stern action against the persons responsible since they are trying to take Kenya backwards. Last month there was anxiety in the same area after a group of women allegedly kidnapped and forcefully circumcised married women who are opposed to female circumcision.

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