KENYA: Sect violence enters third day in capital
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Violent clashes between the police and suspected members of a secretive sect in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, entered a third day on 7 June, resulting in several deaths and dozens more injured.
A reporter at the scene of the violence at Mathare, an informal settlement in the north of the city, filed this first-hand account of events:
"I arrived in Mathare at about noon. Soon after, shots rang out in one of the alleys of the slum. The police, who fired teargas canisters at the crowd, were herding people out of their houses on to trucks parked beside the main road.
"Women with children were made to sit on the ground while the men were thrown into the trucks. Police conducted random searches of individuals.
"Today [7 June] is the third day of extreme violence in the slum, in reaction to the killing of two policemen on Monday by people who the police suspect to be Mungiki members.
"I saw a policeman point a gun at one of the suspects who had been made to lie down. Other policemen were using batons to beat up some of the suspects and force them into the vehicles. It looked fairly random; most of those arrested were men, even passing cyclists.
"There was a petrol station nearby and the people who had gathered there refused to talk to the media, despite having witnessed most of the goings-on. At one point, the police pointed their guns at a crowd that had gathered on the other side of the road to watch the operation.
"I spoke to someone at a youth centre and he said frightened people were coming to their office in need of information, seeking to know what was going on. The centre had become an information point.
"The police trucks left the area at about 12.50pm with dozens of suspected Mungiki gang members."