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Families fear missing kin among those in mass grave

Desperate residents of Kitengela with missing family members on Sunday morning turned up in Noonkopir where a suspected mass grave was discovered on Saturday.

They watched patiently as pathologists combed through the quarry where herders found the decomposing bodies.

They said they suspected the bodies belonged to people who had been murdered by the outlawed mungiki sect. They refused to be named for fear of attracting the wrath of the sect.

But the Kajiado County Commissioner, Kamau wa Kobia said there was no evidence linking the killings to the sect.

“We suspect that these are remains of people who were killed in wrangles over a piece of land between Kajiado and Machakos counties,” Mr Kobia said as residents said.

He said unscrupulous land brokers had conned several people.

After the discovery of the graves, a crackdown on illegal immigrants and suspected criminals began in the area.

There was heavy police presence in Mlolongo, Mavoko, Kitengela and Isinya towns.

“We are just enhancing security in our area which is a through way to and from Nairobi,” Mr Kobia said.

By Sunday more than 170 people had been arrested in the operation, among them 11 Congolese. Kitengela has in the past seen an insurgence of crime by gangs.

On Sunday May 4, two people were killed after attending a service at the Good Hope Church. Scores others were injured by a gang of unknown men.

A week later, 10 mungiki suspects were arrested as they tried to cause chaos at the same church.