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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Beheadings spark Kenyan sect hunt
Mungiki  followers
The Mungiki sect has a violent reputation
Police in Kenya have launched a manhunt for followers of the outlawed Mungiki religious sect accused of beheading six people in the centre of the country.

Security Minister John Michuki said some 200 suspects have been arrested this week since the corpses were found.

Followers of the Mungiki sect, have been battling with public transport operators who refuse to pay them protection fees.

The sect promotes female circumcision and oath taking and was banned in 2002.

Police say the latest victims of the sect members were abducted and tortured before being hacked to death and their bodies dismembered.

The body parts were found dumped near a police station, in Kiambu town, a few kilometres from the capital, Nairobi.

The group has been linked to influential politicians from central Kenya in the past and there are fears they may be used to disrupt the general elections later this year.

President Mwai Kibaki is seeking a second term in office and is facing a stiff challenge from the opposition Orange Democratic Movement of Kenya.

"Mungiki, Taleban or whatever they call themselves we are going to wipe them out tomorrow and we are determined," Mr Michuki told reporters in Nairobi.

The security minister denied claims that the killings are linked to politics.

Mungiki which means a multitude of people in Kikuyu, one of the major tribes in Kenya, claims to have more than one million followers across the country.

Police are also investigating reports that the sect has extended its criminal activities to kidnapping and extortion.

Last week, security forces were placed on high alert following the distribution of leaflets allegedly authored by the sect leaders asking the youth to join the banned sect in readiness for an uprising against the government.

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