Nairobi — At least four people have been killed and more than eight others seriously wounded after angry Muslim crowds protesting against the killing of a popular Muslim preacher with three of his companions rioted in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa.
According to Mombasa Police county commander Robert Kitur. A fifth passenger survived the attack. Mr. Kitur said there had been no arrests made adding that police weren't linked to the shooting.
"No officer was involved," he said.
Sheikh Ibrahim Amar's murder was the second such killing of a prominent Muslim cleric in the past year, and comes at an unusually tense time for the country.
In September 2012, controversial Muslim cleric sheikh Aboud Rogo Mohammed was shot dead while driving his minivan along the city. His family and followers of Mr. Rogo said they believed Kenyan police were behind the killing.
In a statement that was posted in their Face book page Supreme council of Kenyan Muslim has condemned the violence and urged Muslim followers to exercise restraint for calm while urging the government to investigate the matter."
"Brothers and Sisters-in-Islam, it is another sad day indeed following the killing of a Muslim scholar and three of his companions on their home after evening prayers. We understand that the four were killed on Mombasa Malindi road. We would like to call upon the Government of the Republic of Kenya to come clean on these murders. Otherwise, the Muslim community will not take these actions kindly.
Meanwhile, we call upon the Muslim community in Kenya to pray for the departed souls and be patient as the leadership dialogue with the state agencies. Let us avoid any acts of lawlessness to a shame those who are fond of pushing us towards actions of irresponsibility to justify their actions."
Kenya's security forces have been on high alert for the past two weeks, after the al Shabaab militant group carried out a devastating attack at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi. At least 69 people died in the assault, which took four days for police and soldiers to put down.
The Kenyan government has been working with teams of international forensic experts to identify the bodies of the attackers but has yet to release any results to the public. Witnesses have said that there were women among the assailants and at least one Kenyan government official has said some of them were Britons and Americans.
Many ethnic Somalis in Kenya have expressed fears of police reprisals following the Westgate attack and this latest incident has increased fears of religious tension in the country.