Over 200 arrested as police block former Mungiki leader's meeting

Suspected Maina Njenga supporters at Central Police Station in Nyeri after arrest. [David Muthoka, Standard]

Police arrested more than 200 people in Nyeri town, yesterday after they blocked the planned meeting by former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga.

The officers mounted roadblocks and conducted searches on vehicles in the town.

This comes after Nyeri County Police Commander Benjamin Rotich said the meeting was illegal and no one had requested a permit for the rally.

Njenga had vowed to hold an end-of-year thanksgiving meeting at Kabiru-ini showgrounds where youths and Mt Kenya leaders were expected to announce their regional Kingpin.

Tension was high as most businesses remained closed and police in anti-riot gear patrolled the town in trucks.

The showground gates remained closed as armed police officers patrolled the area and refused to allow anyone into the facility.

Earlier, about 20 youths assembled in the central business district in a bid to address a press briefing to protest police harassment but were dispersed by police.

Rotich said that the 200 youths suspected to have been ferried to Nyeri for the meeting were arrested during the crackdown on the former Mungiki leader's supporters.

"Police are on a high alert to enhance security and they are not leaving anything to chance, we shall not allow any security threat or illegal meeting," he said.

He assured the public that security had been beefed up and warned them against engaging in criminal activities.

The county commander said that churches that will conduct overnight prayers on New Year's Eve must follow laid down restrictions.

He directed entertainment joints to observe operating hours as required by liquor licenses.

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