Police have claimed that the controversial Muslim cleric Aboud Rogo was killed by his rivals and that the protests were pre-planned.
Deputy police spokesperson Charles Owino yesterday told the Star that intelligence reports reveal that the planners of the attacks are out the create animosity between Muslim and Christians.
Owino said Rogo, who has been on terror radar as a key al-Qaeda coordinator, could have been executed by his rivals and that police are not involved in his execution. "Why would police kill Rogo after being with him for almost 15 years since 2002 when he was first arrested after he was linked with the Kikambala bombing?" posed Owino.
"Why kill Rogo in broad daylight, knowing the implications that it could trigger in the country especially in Mombasa? Our moral duty is to protect Kenyans," added Owino.
The police are appealing to Rogo's wife, Khaniya Said Saggar Said, and his father, Abdalla Ali, to help in the investigation. Police believe the two might have crucial details about the killing including the plate number of the vehicle that Rogo's executers were using.
Rogo was killed instantly when unknown gunmen sprayed the van he was driving with bullets near the Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach along the Mombasa-Malindi highway. He was with his wife, father, 5-year-old daughter and another relative in the car.
He was taking his sick wife, who two weeks ago had a miscarriage, to hospital. The killing sparked violent protest in parts of Mombasa, especially in Majengo, where his Musa Mosque is situated.
Yesterday, more violence erupted as Muslim youths engaged police in running battles. The youths burned down a small bar at Saba Saba. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the youths also burnt some cars outside a petrol station at Saba Saba.
Areas of Sabasaba, Majengo, King'orani, Mwembe Tayari and Makupa course way were a no-go-zone for the better part of yesterday morning with one person reported to have been injured.
The violence spread to the North Coast with tension rising in parts of Kisauni, Mwandoni, Bakarani, Barsheba and Lights areas. A PCEA church in Bakarani was yesterday burnt down by Muslim youths.
Yesterday's violence escalated after rumours emerged that Rogo's wife Khaniya also died yesterday. However, this was dismissed by sources close to the slain cleric.
There was also panic at the Mt Kenya University Mombasa campus as students stumbled upon an object that looked like a bullet.
Police collected 15 spent cartridges of 7.5mm bullets used by an automatic AK-47 rifles at the scene of crime. They have already been sent to Nairobi for forensic examination.
A senior officer who was at the scene said the kind of ammunition used are not commonly used by Kenyan security agents. He said Kenya police usually import ammunition which are silver or golden in colour. The cartridges found at the scene were grey in colour. Senior officers believe the attackers are well trained and might be snipers who knew Rogo very well.
According to a senior police officer, infighting for leadership of the al Shabab terror group, which enjoys funding from the al-Qaeda terror network, could have been behind the killing.