Kenya politician, activists slam 'terrorist' killing of scholar

A Muslim scholar was gunned down Tuesday by unkown attackers in Mombasa. Muslim rights groups said they will stage street protests in the port city of Mombasa unless the government met a Saturday deadline to say who had killed Shariff

Kenya politician, activists slam 'terrorist' killing of scholar

World Bulletin / News Desk

A renowned Kenyan Muslim politician has dismissed  the Tuesday killing of a Muslim scholar in the coastal city of Mombasa as a "terrorist" attack.

"We are saying it is a terrorist act," Sheikh Mohammed Dor, the chairman of the Islamic Party of Kenya, told a press conference in Mombasa on Wednesday.

"If the government is sincere in what it is preaching that it is against terrorist acts, then it should give us a full report," he said.

Sheikh Abubakar Shariff, a firebrand scholar popularly known as Makaburi, was gunned down Tuesday by unknown attackers while driving along the Mombasa-Lamu road.

Makaburi was the most outspoken cleric in Kenya's coast region and enjoyed a huge following.

He preached at the Shuhadaa Mosque, which was raided by Kenyan police in February on charges of being used to radicalize young Muslims.

He had been listed by the UN as a recruiter for the Somali militant group Al-Shabaab.

Makaburi had publicly said that as long as Kenya continued to have its soldiers in neighboring Somalia it should expect more attacks on its soil.

He had justified last September's Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi in which 67 people were killed. The attack was claimed by Al-Shabaab.

Pattern

Dor said Makaburi was killed in the same manner and place as other Muslim scholars.

"What happened to Makaburi, very strangely [happened] to other Muslim clerics on the same route," he said.

Sheikh Ibrahim Omar and Sheikh Aboud Rogo were killed on the same road and in a similar manner, albeit in separate incidents almost a year apart.

Kenyan human rights activists had protested the killings as extrajudicial killing by Kenyan security forces.

Makaburi and Rogo preachers at the Shuhadaa Mosque and were both accused by Kenyan authorities of being behind the recruitment of young Muslims to join Al-Shabab.

When asked if he had evidence to prove that the killing of Makaburi was indeed a terrorist act, Sheikh Dor told Anadolu Agency: "What evidence do you want when you know that we lost three Muslim preachers in similar circumstances on the same road."

He said the Muslim community was waiting for a "full" government report on Makaburi’s killing.

Protests planned

Two prominent Kenyan Muslim rights groups said they will stage street protests in the port city of Mombasa unless the government met a Saturday deadline to say who had killed Shariff.

Mombasa-based Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) and Haki Africa have in the past both accused Kenya's Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) of carrying out extra-judicial killings of well-known Muslims, a charge the police have always strongly denied.

Makaburi had told journalists he expected to be assassinated by the police. Makaburi's close ally and friend, preacher Aboud Rogo, was killed in a drive-by shooting in 2012.

"Whichever way we look at it, the government is culpable for either killing Makaburi or for failing to prevent his killing," said Hussein Khalid, director of Haki Africa, a rights group.

Interior Minister Ole Lenku denied government involvement in Makaburi's death and said an investigation had been launched.

When Rogo was shot dead in 2012, the killing caused several days of riots. The same happened when Rogo's protege was killed in almost identical circumstances in October 2013.

Khalid, flanked by Muhuri members, said the government had three days to "unravel the mystery" of Makaburi's death.

"Failure to (do so means) we shall go to the streets in protest as allowed under our constitution," he added.

The current population of Mombasa is estimated at 1.2 million, according to figures by the County Council of Mombasa.

Muslims reportedly constitute around 65 percent of the city's population.

Last Mod: 03 Nisan 2014, 10:27
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