8 October 2013

Kenya: Families Blame Rival Clerics for Killings

Family members of two men killed with Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim Omar are blaming the state and rival Muslim clerics. On Thursday night Sheikh Ibrahim was being driving home with Gaddafi Mohammed, 37 years alias Shebe; Issah Abdallah, Gaddafi's brother in law and the driver; Omar Abu Rumeisa and Salim Aboud.

Unknown gunmen sprayed their vehicle with bullets and only Salim Aboud survived the attack by pretending he was dead. Shebe's widow Dhikira Abdalla, 30 from King'orani, said her husband claimed he had been threatened some months ago by a Muslim cleric at the Masjid Musa mosque in Mombasa, whom she declined to identify.

Dhikira claimed her husband had a bitter confrontation that ended in physical fight with the cleric inside the mosque. "He told me that they were not in good terms and he feared for his life although he never reported matter to authorities. He however shared it widely with his close friends," said Dhikira.

Family members said they believed some clerics were working with the state security agencies to eliminate fellow Muslims. "They killed an innocent man who loved his family," said Dhikira. Shebe, a carpenter, was a Standard Eight dropout from Majengo Primary school.

Nadhia Ali, Shebe's sister and Issa Abdalla's wife, blamed the security agencies for the alleged execution of her husband who she said was a deeply religious man. The families defended Sheikh Abubakar Shariff alias Makaburi who police have accused of interfering with the crime scene and obstructing their investigations.

Makaburi said Sheikh Ibrahim was targeted because of his links to the late Sheikh Aboud Rogo who was shot dead in a similar drive-by shooting in August 2012. Makaburi claimed Ibrahim was killed in retaliation for the September attack on Westgate mall. Police also blame Makaburi for organized the huried burials of the three men killed on Thursday..

Sheikh Ibrahim, Gaddafi and Abdullah were buried as martyrs in their bloody clothes just before dawn on Friday morning.

Yesterday, Shebe's sister, Mufida Mohammed, said it was the families who decided to bury the three men within hours. She said the family wanted to avoid the violent protests that followed Aboud Rogo's killing. "We knew if they were to be buried after the Friday prayers it could have led to riots which would have caused grave damage and loss of many innocent lives," said Mufida.

Even so, four people died during riots after the Friday prayers and a Salvation Army church in Majengo was set on fire. Mufida defended Makaburi against allegations that he had interfered with the scene of crime or obstructed the police

"By the time we got there, the police were also there. They never bothered to secure the crime scene. They did not cordon off the area. They should not blame us or Makaburi. It was their responsibility to secure the scene of crime," said Mufida.

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