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Last Updated: Friday, 1 June 2007, 18:44 GMT 19:44 UK
Kenya president warns on killings
Mungiki  followers

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki has angrily attacked a spate of grisly murders and beheadings blamed on the banned Mungiki sect.

"There is no-one who has the right to take a life and if you choose to do that and try to hide we will get you," Mr Kibaki said.

"Now there is nobody who will think that person has a right to live."

Mr Kibaki gave the warning during celebrations marking self-rule as six more killings were blamed on the sect.

Among them was an assistant chief from the president's home area of Othaya.

Mungiki followers are said to have brutally murdered six people in the country's central region last month, in what is said to be a revenge attack on people who had leaked information about their activities to the police.

They are thought to be militants from Kenya's biggest ethnic group, the Kikuyu.

Some commentators have linked them to politicians wanting to cause unrest and fear ahead of December elections.

Execution-style shootings

Without mentioning the Mungiki by name, President Kibaki said the criminals "must be dealt with firmly by our security agencies".

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki
Mr Kibaki urged people to come forward with information

He urged people to come forward with information and promised them protection if they did so, Reuters news agency reports.

The BBC's Wazir Hamsin travelled to Kangema, 105km north of the capital, Nairobi, where five of the six killings happened on Thursday night.

He says the victims in Kangema - an assistant chief and his family - were shot execution style.

Residents in the area are blaming the deaths on the Mungiki, he says.

Assistant chiefs are appointed country-wide by the office of the president.

Kangema is the area where Security Minister John Michuki, who has spearheaded a crackdown on the sect, comes from.

Police say they have arrested seven people in connection with Thursday's murders in Othaya and Kangema, both in central Kenya.

The Mungiki, which means multitude in Kikuyu, claim to have more than one million followers across the country.

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

In recent years they have been battling with public transport operators who refuse to pay them protection fees.

President Kibaki is seeking a second term in office and faces a strong opposition.


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