Massacre as villagers clash with gangsters

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The Independent Online

Villagers in central Kenya clashed with members of a criminal organisation using machetes, axes and clubs yesterday, killing at least 28 people and leaving streets stained with blood.

Residents near the town of Karatina said the gang had been extorting money from them. "The majority of the dead are Mungiki members," a police spokesman, Charles Owino, said. Besides the dead, three people were seriously injured in the violence and police arrested 37 people. They also seized machetes, axes and clubs used in the clashes.

Police urged members of the public to stop "using criminal violence to resist crime". The Mungiki emerged in the 1990s, and has been linked to extortion, murder and political violence.

The group, which has been outlawed, is believed to have thousands of followers drawn from the Kikuyu, Kenya's largest tribe.