An unmarked black Subaru car trailed the late Sheikh Aboud Rogo's vehicle from a petrol station in Mtwapa to where he was murdered near Jomo Kenyatta public beach, the police revealed yesterday. The Subaru car, with no number plate, overtook Rogo's car a few meters from Bamburi Police Station and opened fire.
Rogo's car then lost control and landed in a ditch. The team probing his death was informed yesterday. Testifying at the murder scene, Kisauni CID boss Benedict Kigen said witnesses said the Subaru car then headed to kilifi. "No one was willing to testify in this incident but the little information we have found is that the late Aboud Rogo had been trailed by unknown people who were armed," said Kigen.
Kigen was responding to questions from the chairman of the team and deputy DPP Jacob Ondari. He said 16 spent cartridges obtained from the scene of crime indicated that ammunition of size 7.5mm used by an automatic AK 47 could not be found in any armory in Kenya. "What I can say is that the cartridges were black in color, which is not found in Kenya. In Kenya we only use copper cartridges.
"They were shot from an automatic AK47 at close range. The rifle might be of Kenyan origin but the bullets are not," Kigen said. Kigen said efforts by police officers to cordon off the scene and collect more details about the late controversial preacher's death were thwarted by his close ally and co-accused Abubakar Shariff alias Makaburi who arrived at the scene 10 minutes later.
A team formed by Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko to investigate Rogo's murder has complained of hurdles from the family who are not willing to cooperate with the investigating agencies. Jacob Ondari, chairman of the 14 member committee overseeing the investigations said impediments had started cropping up as they settled down yesterday to unravel the mystery behind Rogo's murder.
Ondari told a press conference on Monday evening at Mombasa state counsel offices and cited difficulties emanating from the family side who have been listed as the first witnesses. He said the process may be jeopardized if witnesses did not turn out to testify before his committee and urged the late cleric's widow, Haniya Said and the public, to help the team move fast with the findings.
"So far we can't reach the family and also investigating officers cannot access the family. The public may also not be willing to testify, something we foresee may hinder our work but we are optimistic things will work out," Ondari said. Ondari also said that unknown people were shielding potential witnesses including the family members that were with the late cleric when he was shot last week along Mombasa Kilifi highway.
He said the witnesses will be protected under the Witness Protection Act and that the information obtained will be held with confidentiality. Another hurdle likely to hamper the investigations is the fact that a Muslim widow is not supposed to go out for a period of four months and ten days popularly known as the Eda period.
"Rogo's wife is said to be strictly observing the days and may not come out to testify, thereby hindering the investigations. I think the committee's mandate will have to be extended," a member to the probe team who sought anonymity told the Star. Ondari added that the investigations will go beyond the murder and cover the violence that rocked the Coastal city for the better part of last week.
"We are not only going to oversee the investigations into the murder but we shall extend the same to the cause of violence, those behind it and forward our recommendations. "As you know churches were burnt, property destroyed and all this we have to get to the root part of it," said Ondari.
Already police have linked Rogo's ally and co-accused Abukir Shariff alias Makaburi to the violence. He was charged at a Mombasa law court for incitement to the violence on 27th last month but his family now claim that he cannot be traced. His family yesterday expressed fears over his life after they claimed to have been denied access to him.
Makaburi's 70-year-old mother Nuru Ahmed and sister Fatma Sharrif yesterday said they went round several police stations in Mombasa including Central, Makupa, Likoni and Changamwe, and Shimo la Tewa prison but they were not allowed to see him. "We don't know where my brother is. We are worried something might happen to him because he is being held incommunicado and we are not being told where he is," said Fatma.
"All over a sudden, we saw a lot of Muslim youth arriving in private vehicles, took the body before we could even get any details. They were mobilized by Makaburini to and from town where they hurriedly organized the burial," said Gitari. He said Rogo's wife, Khaniya, did not want to see them at the scene. She accused the police of murdering her husband.
The probe team then visited PCEA Kisauni church, which was razed down by close to 60 Muslim youths. The 14 member probe team is in Mombasa to gather information about Rogo's death that sparked off violence in Mombasa. They will present their finding to the DPP Keriako Tobiko in 14 days.