By Standard Team

Senior security officials have vowed to eradicate illegal gangs, including vigilante groups.

They said they would deal with vigilantes in the same way as Mungiki and other outlawed gangs.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Community Policing) Beatrice Nduta said groups that took the law into their own hands, including vigilantes, would not be tolerated.

She urged residents of Central Province to accept community policing and reject vigilante groups with criminal intents.

She was speaking at Ihwagi trading centre in Mathira, Nyeri, on Tuesday during the relaunch of the community policing programme.

Last month in Mathira, 29 people lost their lives at the hands of Mungiki gangs.

Central PPO John M’Mbijjiwe said: "To us, vigilantes are like Mungiki and the Police Commissioner has already declared them illegal outfits."

Lawlessness

This follows President Kibaki’s directive that illegal gangs be dealt with ruthlessly. The directive comes in the wake of lawlessness by Mungiki gangs and vigilante groups.

Mathira MP Ephraim Maina, who was also present, urged the police to protect those who volunteer information about criminals. Others present were Central PCIO Sebastian Ndaru and Nyeri East DC Francis Komen.

Meanwhile, Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo has urged Kenyans to desist from taking the law into their hands when dealing with criminals. He termed the practice "completely unacceptable and unconstitutional".

He was responding to queries why vigilante groups had resorted to violence in dealing with suspected Mungiki members.

Menace controllable

And PCEA General Assembly Moderator David Gathanju has said the Mungiki menace in Central Province is controllable.

The Rev Gathanju said the community and religious leaders have a duty to dialogue with the youth and address their problems in a non-violent way.

Speaking in Ol-Kalou, Nyandarua, Gathanju challenged religious leaders to set up youth polytechnics to keep the youth occupied.

—Reports by Moses Njagih, Judy Ogutu and Boniface Thuku

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