Residents of Maragua in Murang’a County were on Tuesday treated to a rare burial of a suspected Mungiki adherent.
The burial of Samuel Mwangi Njoki took place in less than 15 minutes under strict police watch.
There was no eulogy read, no tributes and no photographs.
Mwangi’s body was moved from Murang’a General Hospital mortuary at 9.30 am, arrived at his Mathare Estate home in Maragua town at 10:35 am and by 10.50am it was interred.
Mourners were then ordered to disperse by the close to 250 armed police officers present during the burial.
“This is not a proper burial ceremony for my brother. It is a shame and the government is not fair at all. This is like dumping him…” shouted a man as police urged the speedy lowering of the casket and youths mobilised to heap soil in the grave.
By dawn, police had been deployed in Maragua town and sealed all access points to the burial site. Some 15 youths were arrested for various suspicions in the strict vetting of mourners that was put in place.
“We received intelligence information about some plans to have some people from Nairobi, Kitengela and Laikipia attend the burial owing to the deceased’s historical links with the gang world and we showed up to keep vigil,” said Murang’a South Police Boss Anthony Keter.
He said Mwangi’s had a teenage daughter who was lynched in Nairobi in February on suspicion that she was s Gaza gang member and that network had plans to attend the burial.
He said there has been several incidents in the region where dead criminals had been buried by their associates.
“The result was serious breach of peace, an incident we did not want to happen again during this burial,” Mr Keter said.
Former Deputy Police Boss in the region Jasper Makau recalled how he had arrested the deceased in 2004 together with “some very senior members of the sect from Nairobi.”
He said the five had been picked from a hideout in Makuyu where they were planning to attend a mass oathing ceremony for new recruits.
“They were arraigned and were later acquitted,” he said.
Murang’a County Commissioner Mohammed Barre told Nation that the huge presence of police officers was meant to check “breach of peace and observance of Covid-19 protocols.”
He said there was nothing strange in the way the burial was conducted “since we have a pandemic to manage and a people to secure from imported talents masquerading as mourners.”
He said such security interventions will be witnessed in many other instances where there is sufficient proof of social gatherings having a possibility of turning volatile.