The Mungiki gang is back.
This time with a vengeance and its members do not mind raiding President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard.
They kill, rape women, defile young girls, levy taxes on traders, and extort and steal with wanton abandon.
A drive down Kenyatta Road to Gatundu town after exiting Thika Road may give a new visitor the impression that he is entering a serene and safe environment thanks to a good road network and the cool air from nearby farms.
Also, as the ancestral rural home of the founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, in Ichaweri, Gatundu South, is nearby, one may assume that with the influence that the family commands, security in the area is guaranteed.
But the irony is, this is where George Kahuga met his death when he was brutally murdered by a gang that locals now claim symbolises the return of the dreaded Mungiki gang, which has previously been accused of murder, extortion and taking illegal levies.
Irked by the shocking crimes, President Kenyatta on Thursday dispatched Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i and Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to Gatundu to clamp down on the thugs.
“I have been sent by the President following the bad security reports that we have been receiving from Kiambu, which have even shocked us, especially from Gatundu South. I have also come to tell you that we will do our work,” Dr Matiang’i said when he made a stopover at Mutomo.
“I apologise for what has been happening and I assure you that this will not happen again. Kenyans should not suffer considering that you have given us a job to protect you,” he told an emotional elderly lady who narrated how one of her grandchildren was defiled by a gang of four early this month after they broke into the family’s house.
Last month, the same gang that is said to be armed with guns and crude weapons attacked another victim identified as George Kibe and injured his son.
A resident who spoke to the Nation in confidence said the gang is well known to the police and they always bribe their way out.
Another victim identified as Joseph Kagua is nursing gun injuries after he was shot in the back by the thugs.
His wife Mary Mutinda is also nursing bullet wounds. This is just a small fraction of people who have been victims of the gang that is terrorising people mainly in Ichaweri, Mutomo, Kimunyu and Ng’enda villages.
Dr Matiang'i told reporters that four members of the gang had been arrested and they are closing in on other suspects.
He also ordered the transfer of security chiefs in Kiambu County with immediate effect, citing an upsurge in crime in the area.
He said he will employ the same tactics that were used by former Security minister John Michuki to curb insecurity.
Dr Matiang'i further said he will immediately deploy a special security team to deal with the criminals terrorising residents.
He added that all vacant positions of assistant chiefs will be advertised and filled by the end of October.
Mr Mutyambai urged residents to work with the police in order to flush out criminals.
In March, Central Regional Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga hinted that the thugs were regrouping. This is after their leader, a Njagi, died.
Mr Nyagwanga said that criminal gangs such as Mungiki and Gaza had started regrouping in parts of Murang'a and Nyeri counties.
The group was also cited when a University of Nairobi student leader was killed at a local club.
Samuel Ragira had posted this message on his Facebook page: “It is unfortunate that Mungiki are terrorising Klabu 36 traders with pangas and guns taking advantage of the situation. They are demanding 10K from every trader to build a kibanda. This issue is disturbing as the police are watching it happen.”
He was later killed at the club, a death many attributed to the gang.
During Thursday’s tour of the region, Kiambu Woman Representative Gathoni wa Muchomba said she had received six cases of defilement by the gang in less than two months and backed the order to transfer the local police chiefs, saying they were corrupt and lax.
Kiambu Deputy Governor James Nyoro said he will work closely with the Interior ministry to root out the menace.
“It is a bad day for Kiambu people that instead of the Cabinet secretary coming to launch projects, he is coming to address insecurity issues. We want to assure you that we shall not entertain any more impunity,” said Mr Nyoro.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria said those found to be terrorising local residents should be arrested.
Additional reporting by Hellen Shikanda and Mercy Chelangat