Nairobi: twenty killed in street battle

The Catholic Information Service for Africa (CISA) report that 20 people were killed and 28 hospitalised late Sunday night, following an outbreak of gang warfare in a district of Nairobi. During the previous week, three people, believed to be members of a gang known as 'Mungiki' were slashed to death when they confronted a rival gang, calling itself 'Taliban'. CISA report: "As the sun set on Sunday evening, word was already going round Kariobangi that the Mungiki, had declared a revenge attack later that night." Sources in Kariobangi told CISA that the attacks started at about 8:30pm on Sunday. Mungiki members were stopping residents randomly and enquiring about their tribal origin. Then they simply set upon people, slashing them with machetes. Earlier radio reports said ten people were killed. But CISA learned from the local Kariobangi Catholic Parish that at least eighteen were massacred. Some of those attacked were not members of the rival gang. One of the priests at Kariobangi, Fr Alazar, a Comboni Missionary, told CISA that someone ran to the church for help. The priest called the police but they arrived very late. By yesterday afternoon, when CISA visited the estate, the police, backed by the paramilitary General Service Unit, were engaged in running battles with the Taliban, The agency said: "Residents have panicked. The local primary school was closed in the morning for the day. Most businesses and ordinary activities are at a standstill." CISA report that at least 15 people have been killed in street fights this year. The Commissioner of Police has appealed for calm and called for witnesses to come forward to identify those behind the disturbances.

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