23 February 2013

Kenya: Hateful Leaflets Spark Tension in Mombasa

POLICE are acting on crucial leads over leaflets circulated in parts of Mombasa, warning Kikuyus to leave the island or face consequences.

The Kisauni police boss, Julius Wanjohi said the tradition of leaflets being circulated in the North Coast, especially Mshomoroni, Kisauni, Kongowea, has been rampant and that a special team of officers are following up the matter.

Speaking to the Star after leaflets were found in Bengala area of Mshomoroni and Kongowea, the officer said it will only be a matter of time before the suspects are apprehended.

"We cannot divulge any names or groups now since we may jeopardize our investigations, but we are on it," he said.

A group of residents from Mshomoroni had in the morning reported the incident and gone with the leaflets that had been thrown at the doors of their house, to the Coast police boss Aggrey Adoli.

"It is high time the police and the electoral body protect voters. This time round, we are not moving, and we are also calling on those who have already begun leaving the town, to come back and exercise their democratic right," said one of the area residents.

According to the residents, some village elders in the area, politicians, religious leaders are behind the latest spate of threatening leaflet messages.

In one of the leaflets seen by the Star, it had been said: "Kwa wapendwa ndugu zetu wakikuyu- Tafadhali, tafadhali, tumechoka na tabia zenu.

Nawaomba, nawasihi kulingana na barua muliandika kutisha inchi kwa jumla yakwamba uatawala itabaki kwenu milele, vile muna panga kuchafua nchi nzima nanyi kaeni tayari kwa vita hapa Mombasa. Kaeni mkijua ya kwamba 2007 ilikuwa afadhali. Mumesema kiongozi wenu amesema mulinde Uhuru, endeleeni kulinda lakini tuko nanyi vyovote.

Mujipange kurudi kwenu kabla tarehe 1/ March 2013, vile mumesema ambassadors waende kwao. Tumetosheka na tabia zenu wakikuyu"

(To our beloved brothers from the Kikuyu community, please, we are tired of your behaviours. We beseech you, in regards to the threatening letter to the nation boosting that leadership will remain in your hands forever, be ready for war here in Mombasa. Just know that 2007 clashes was nothing. You have been told by your leader to protect Uhuru, go ahead, but we are watching you. Prepare to leave to your rural homes before March 1st the same way you have asked ambassadors to leave Kenya alone. We are tired of your behaviors).

The residents who spoke to the Star gave a list of four village elders, a civil society organization from the region, a local politician and several places of worship, as being behind the letters by either incitement or facilitation.

The leaflets were circulated in Jomvu, Likoni, Miritini, Mikindani areas, among others.

"This time round, we are ready to protect our property, and our lives, so far 23 people have left the town for their rural homes, we want them back, and we are keenly monitoring every step," said a resident.

Atleast every month, leaflets are circulated in those areas, with people claiming that the Mombasa Republican Council is responsible. The group has however denied the allegations.

There were also reports that the MRC group had planned to disrupt the March 4 elections and would regroup a day earlier. But security officials said all security measures have been put in place to ensure that does not occur.

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