POLICE have declared war on the resurgent Mungiki sect, especially in President Uhuru Kenyatta's home town of Gatundu.
For the last three weeks been carrying out an operation to get rid of suspected Mungiki members from Gatundu where they have been terrorizing residents.
The crackdown follows a spate of robberies, murders, arson, and a widespread extortion racket that has paralysed business and farming interests in the region. Police sources said the crackdown was ordered by the Inspector General David Kimaiyo following a meeting of top security commanders at State House on April 25.
Uhuru reportedly complained to Kimaiyo of rising insecurity in Gatundu during the meeting that was attended by IGP Kimaiyo, his deputies Grace Kaindi of the regular police and Samuel Arachi of the Administration police, and Director of CID Ndegwa Muhoro, according to inside sources.
Kimaiyo told the Star that the police were "on top of things" and that the ongoing crackdown against Mungiki was part of a countrywide strategy to eliminate armed criminal gangs including in Mombasa, Garissa and Bungoma.
Elite police units have been deployed to Gatundu to hunt for the suspected Mungiki members.
In 2007 crackdown the late John Michuki, then Minister for Internal Security, ordered a crackdown on Mungiki members which resulted in the deaths of numerous suspects and the disappearance of many others.
Now the Mungiki has started regrouping and has re-established their extortion rackets in Gatundu, according to intelligence sources.
Police response has been swift and ruthless. Last Saturday, Michael Kirika, 25 years, a suspected Mungiki leader, was found dead a day after a plain clothes policeman removed him from a matatu.
Kirika's body was dumped outside a bank on Saturday morning. He was naked except for a pair of undershorts.
His mother, Teresiah Waringa, said she was called by a passenger who told her that her son was in a matatu on his way home when plainclothes policemen in an unmarked car stopped them at Clayworks area. The policemen then ordered Kirika to get out of the matatu.
Waringa said she did not bother to go to the station as it was late in the evening. The next day she was called by a neighbor who told her that her son's body was lying at the Gatundu town bus terminus. He had no visible marks on his body and she suspects he had been asphyxiated.
Waringa said she had not filed a complaint with the police as she suspected they knew more than she did.
She refuted police claims that her son was the leader of the Mungiki in Gatundu. She described him as a 'hardworking man who used to hawk sweets and toys in Ruiru town."
"How do you know that someone is a Mungiki? And even if he was a Mungiki, why didn't the police arrest him and charge him court?" she said yesterday.
Her denials rang hollow as matatu and boda boda operators in Gatundu celebrated on receiving the news of Kirika's death. They drove round the town tooting their horns and flashing their vehicles' lights. They alleged that Kirika had been running an extortion ring at the bus terminus and had been ruthless with those who refused to pay the Sh200 daily 'protection fee.'
Matatu operators, who declined to be identified for fear of repercussions from Kirika's colleagues, said he was responsible for last month's burning of three matatus at Kiharu village after their owners and crew refused to pay the protection fee.
Another suspected Mungiki member, John Muchiri Gakunya, was shot dead on April 19 in Githioro area of Gatundu when he allegedly defied police orders to surrender after they found him demanding money from a matatu crew.
Gatundu is still in a state of fear and residents are fearful of even mentioning the name 'Mungiki' and refer to them as "those who are not named."
Residents ran away when suspected Mungiki set upon a prison warder as he was walking home with his wife on March 31.
Senior Sergeant Daniel Kariuki Mungothi and his wife Rose Wanjiru were attacked by youth armed with rungus and crowbars. The youth did not harm Wanjiru but severely beat her husband who died from his injuries on April 1.
Last week Gatundu police boss Peter Kattam said Muchiri was their prime suspect in Mungothi's murder but that they were still investigating to find his accomplices.
Kattam said that police have so far arrested 14 people who have been charged with being members of the outlawed sect.
One man has been convicted and jailed for seven years. Five men have been released and ordered to keep the peace while the others are awaiting trial..