[JURIST] Some 8,000 Kenyans have been killed over the last five years as a result of a police crackdown on the outlawed Mungiki sect, according to the Oscar Foundation Free Legal Aid Clinic-Kenya (OFFLACK) [advocacy website]. In a report [PDF text] issued over the weekend, OFFLACK said:
The Oscar Foundation has documented eight thousand and forty (8,040) cases of death by executions and torture perpetuated by state security agents and another 4070 cases of disappearance where the victims remain unaccounted for in the period between August 2002 and August 2007.Kenyan police spokesman Eric Kiraithe denied the allegations, questioning OFFLACK's motives in releasing the report.
OFFLACK currently receives daily reports of between 200 to 400 cases of torture, extra-judicial executions, arbitrary arrests, and illegal confinement of young people on the pretext that they belong to the outlawed Mungiki sect. It was noted that most cases of torture occurred when officers attempted to extract confessions by force or while extorting bribes from suspected adherents. Those who refuse to part with bribes were blindfolded and led away to the killing fields where they were summarily executed.
The Mungiki sect [BBC backgrounder], whose members come from the Kikuyu tribe of Kenya, started in the 1980s as a group advocating for traditional practices of the tribe, including female genital mutilation [WHO backgrounder]. More recently, Mungiki has become involved in gang activity, such as extortion, fraud, robbery, and murder, and is blamed for the May killing of six people believed to have been murdered for disclosing information about the sect. Kenya [JURIST news archive] banned Mungiki in 2002, when Kenyan Security Minister John Michuki ordered a government crackdown on the sect. AFP has more. AP has additional coverage.