• In Africa, vigilante groups have been hired by weak states to tackle insurgencies and frustrate, intimidate and even kill members of rival political parties.
• Kenya's Mungiki rears out during election period mainly to intimidate members of rival political clans then disappears.
Recently in Yuen Long–a town in the western new territories of Hong Kong–during the ongoing mass protest march against a proposed extradition bill, men in white t-shirts wielding batons, sticks and poles attacked commuters at Yuen Long railway station.
Word broke out that the attackers were pro-state and members of the Triads–a known ruthless criminal organisation with ties all over Asia. Such an open attack on citizens could only mean they are or have been government-sanctioned and approved to use deadly force on dissidents.
The use of criminal gangs, vigilantes and death squads by the government to threaten to kill, maim or just exert authority against opponents has always happened across the globe, for instance, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK)– an American white supremacist hate group under the guise of defending white freedom against blacks through pro-slavery laws and acts of murder by lynching or hanging. They burn crosses across coloured lawns to show they are ‘supreme’ and were there to ‘Keep the blacks and other races in their place’.
In Africa, vigilante groups have been hired by weak states to tackle insurgencies and frustrate, intimidate and even kill members of rival political parties. In Rwanda, for instance, local gangs from the Hutu hunted and killed the Tutsi for political and social dominance, all these upheld by the powers and government that was at that time.
In Kenya, once in a while, the Mungiki rears out during election period mainly to intimidate members of rival political clans then disappears or just lays low after accomplishing their mission.
Relationships between governments and these outlaw groups are bred out of necessity and once true democracy is achieved, we might just eliminate them.