Archive for Friday, June 8, 2007

Violence engulfs slum in crackdown on sect

June 8, 2007

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— A shantytown believed to be a stronghold for gangsters who behead their victims erupted in deadly gunbattles Thursday, killing at least 11 people as paramilitary police rounded up hundreds of residents, beating them with truncheons and demolishing homes.

The violence, on the third day of a crackdown on the shadowy Mungiki sect, was reminiscent of the politically volatile 1990s, when police would storm the slums in search of opposition supporters. Mungiki was inspired by the 1950s Mau Mau uprising against British rule but has become a street gang linked to murder, political violence and extortion.

Since Monday, police have killed more than 30 people suspected of being part of Mungiki and arrested 300 in the Mathare slum. Police also said they recovered three guns and human flesh believed to be used for Mungiki oath-taking.

Police said 11 people were killed Thursday in Mathare, home to an estimated 500,000 people in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

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