Police have shot and killed two more presumed members of the Mungiki sect in Nairobi, taking to at least 47 the number of suspected gang members killed since the start of June. The outlawed sect is alleged to have carried out at least 40 murders and beheadings over the same period.
Police operations began in Nairobi and other parts of the country following a particularly bloody incident blamed on the sect in Central region at the end of May. The crackdown, which has focused mainly on Mathare slum, has led to the arrest of hundreds of suspects. However, it has also caused disruption and fear among local residents caught up in the violence, leading national and international human rights organisations to express concern about the apparently arbitrary nature of the police operations.
Founded in the 1980s, the Mungiki is a quasi-religious cult whose doctrines are based on traditional practices. Over the years, the group has become increasingly engaged in criminal activities including extortion, fraud, robbery and murder. It was officially banned in 2002.