Who will tame dangerous Kigumo gangs sexually assaulting and killing residents?

Sexual assault victim

The late Meshack Muiruri, 55, is buried at his Gakeu village farm in Kigumo Sub-County after he was sexually assaulted to death on October 13 by a gang at Karuri trading centre.

Photo credit: Mwangi Muiruri I Nation Media Group

Cases of alcoholics, mentally handicapped people and the elderly being sexually assaulted and killed in Kigumo constituency have sparked anger among residents against area security officers.

"We can no longer continue like this. We must not be treated to tragic news of sexual assaults … The Kigumo sub-county security team must pull up their socks," said Kenya Assemblies of God (KAG) pastor Hiram Mwaniki.

The worst-hit area is Múthithi ward, where gangs roam in search of people to harm.

Police records indicate that, on average, 10 cases of sexual assault have been reported in Kigumo every week in the past two years.

Many others are said to be suffering silently, nursing injuries but choosing not to report their ordeals to the police for fear of stigma.

"Of course it is a hard thing to do for a man to walk into a police station to report that he was sexually assaulted by fellow men,” said

Mr Joseph Kibugi, who runs the Kibugi wa Ihii Foundation, with “Ihii” referring to boys of primary school age. 

“There are women who also believe suffering sexual assault away from the public glare is wisdom."

The foundation works to inspire boys to grow into responsible members of society by shunning negative influences in their lives.

"But we have also incorporated girls in our programmes. We cannot counsel boys well without introducing girls into their growth path. The two are related and share a common future. The crimes we are witnessing affect both genders," Mr Kibugi said.

Gangs attack

The gangs attack people staggering home from bars past 11pm, the mentally ill on village paths and the disabled.

The victims are sexually assaulted and if they resist they are stabbed or hacked with machetes.

The gangs are reported to hang around gambling, illicit brew and narcotics dens, and in bars that operate illegally late into the night. 

Pastor Mwaniki told Nation.Africa that "we are witnessing the end of times when our children have abandoned morals and adopted Satanic traits that lead them to very shameless crimes”.

On Wednesday last week, Mr Meshack Muiruri, 55, was buried after he was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death at Karuri shopping centre on October 13.

Two other people had been attacked the previous week and left nursing serious injuries.

"We have been hit by a wave of sexual violence targeting those considered vulnerable. Security agents should now treat this trend in Kigumo as a regional problem," said Murang'a Youths Alliance Kigumo chapter chair James Mburu.

Pastor James Kamau, of KAG's Njora branch, said "we have been visited by the criminal spirits of the biblical Cain, Naboth and Judas and our Kigumo urgently needs atonement”. 

"But we must also add that sometimes our security fails us. But we delight in knowing that the power and authority in the name of God will pursue and deliver justice for us in this crisis," he said.

Wayward children

It is no longer acceptable that "we congregate to mourn acts unleashed by our very own wayward children through murders and assaults", he added. 

As the attacks continue, locals blame some of the area’s security officers.

"It is these officers who for their own personal gain neglect policing bars, narcotics and gambling dens and fail to fight substance abuse that induces sadistic traits," Mr Mburu said.

He added that "it is through negligence of duty on the part of the Kigumo sub-county security committee that free access to alcohol and hard drugs continues, breeding deranged minds".

He said "many of our security officers are drinking their way around".
Addressing mourners during the funeral ceremony for Mr Muiruri, area Assistant Chief Mburu Muchoki said he died a painful and shameful death.

"We are dealing with the devil’s agents. If you have something that can help us unravel the mystery, discreetly give us the information so that we can apply it in the war against these misfits," he said.

Last week, Kigumo MP Joseph Munyoro accused the area’s security committee of dereliction of duty.

Police laxity

These crimes, he said, were directly linked to police laxity, adding that many of the officers had overstayed in the area and had become friends with outlaws.

Mr Munyori was speaking at yet another funeral ceremony for a 90-year-old woman who was sexually assaulted and left for dead.

The body of Mary Njeri was found dumped in a thicket three days after she was reported missing on September 29.

"We are tired. We want the culprits in these attacks arrested and charged in court. Every time these crimes recur, we are treated to a circus that ends up not dispensing justice," he said.

Mr Munyoro called the attacks and murders the work of the devil.

He also urged collaborative efforts to fight drug and alcohol abuse, which is said to contribute to the high crime rate in the area.

“We need a good strategy to help us fight this menace which is wasting away our young people," he said.

Bishop Edward Nyútú, chairman of the Protestant Faiths Union, urged society to fight impunity.

"We have a serious crisis on our hands and the society must rise up and fight the impunity of drug and alcohol dealers and hopelessness that leads humans to scheme evil,” he said.

Murang'a County Commissioner Karuku Ngumo said security teams were tackling the problem.

"We want area people to work with us to defeat the criminals in their midst," he said.

He added that security teams were targeting illicit brew dens and bars that sell low-end alcoholic drinks past the regulated time of 11pm.