4 October 2013

Kenya: 4 Dead in Mombasa Riots Over Slain Cleric

Mombasa — At least four people have been killed after violent protests rocked the coastal town of Mombasa on Friday afternoon.

The Kenya Red Cross said on its Twitter handle the victims succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment in hospital.

Seven other people remained in hospital, while 24 others had been arrested.

Tension however remained high in the town following the demonstrations by angry youths who were protesting the killing of a prominent Muslim cleric, Sheikh Ibrahim Ismail, on Thursday night.

A Capital FM News correspondent in the coastal city said that the youths started demonstrating soon after the lunchtime prayers and had already torched the Salvation Army Church in Majengo.

Firemen from the Mombasa County Council and the Kenya Ports Authority managed to contain the fire before it spread to adjacent residential areas.

Mombasa police boss Kipkemboi Rop said at least 24 youths had been arrested as they lit bonfires and barricaded the roads.

"We have managed to restore the situation and we have adequate security personnel whose main aim is to restore order and minimise damage of properties," said Rop.

Sheikh Abubakar Shariff also known as 'Makaburi' declared Thursday's events as 'an assassination' claiming that the State had killed the four because of the Westgate terror attack.

"The police are killing people while saying it is a war against terrorism. This is a war against Islam; these people have been executed," he said.

Sheikh Ismail was shot by gunmen after preaching at the Masjid Musa mosque, in Majengo area; the same mosque where slain cleric Aboud Rogo used to preach.

Rogo was on the United States and United Nations sanctions lists for allegedly supporting the Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab, including through recruitment and fundraising.

Ibrahim was largely seen as Rogo's successor.

Makaburi is also on the United Nations sanctions lists accused of recruiting and fundraising for the Shabaab.

A survivor of the gun attack, Salim Abdi, said he just heard gunshots before the vehicle lost control and landed in a ditch. It was then that he realised that all his four colleagues among them, Ibrahim, had been killed.

"There were gunshots and the vehicle veered off the road. I don't know how I walked out of the vehicle alive," Abdi said.

Ibrahim, Gadaffi Mohammed, Issa Abdalla and Omar Abu Rumeisa were buried early on Thursday in a single grave at the Tudor Muslim Cemetery, where Rogo was also buried.

Reports claim that the four were also accorded the same rites given to martyrs in Islam.

Locals have accused the police of killing them as part of the war against terrorism although police have denied the claims.

Hundreds of armed police officers had been deployed to Majengo and Kisauni areas in anticipation of the riots.

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