Kenyan police disperse Muslim protests in Mombasa

Sheikh Abubakar Shariff, a scholar popularly known as Makaburi, was gunned down on Tuesday by unknown attackers in the Shanzu area in Mombasa.

Kenyan police disperse Muslim protests in Mombasa

World Bulletin / News Desk

Kenyan police fired in the air and unleashed tear gas to disperse scores of Muslim youths angered by the killing of a prominent scholar in the port city of Mombasa this week.

Tensions have been simmering in the tourist hub since Tuesday when unknown attackers shot dead Abubakar Shariff, more commonly known as Makaburi, who was accused of supporting Somali Al-Shabaab fighters who carried out the raid on Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall.

About 100 youths streamed out of the Masjid Shuhadaa mosque in Mombasa's rundown Majengo area, throwing stones and charging a group of journalists outside the house of worship. They scattered when police fired in the air.

Another group of Muslim youths tried to loot a local business but dispersed under tear gas fire from police.

Many Kenyans criticise the government for what they say is worsening security and an inadequate response to Westgate.

Earlier on Friday two human rights groups said they had postponed protests over the drive-by shooting of Makaburi, who security sources say had become a leading member of al-Hijra, a Kenyan affiliate of al Shabaab.

Makaburi's supporters have accused state security agents of killing him, a charge they strongly deny.

MUSLIM OFFICIAL ARRESTED

Kenyan police have arrested a top Muslim official in a raid in the capital Nairobi, an anti-terror police official said Friday.

Sheikh Abdi Hajji was arrested late Thursday in a police raid on the office of the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslim (SUPKEM), the official told Anadolu Agency.

He said that 47 passports and 150 birth certificates have been confiscated during the raid.

But Muslim leaders criticized the arrest, saying that Sheikh Abdi Hajji ran an agency which organizes hajj (pilgrimage) trips for Kenyan Muslims to Saudi Arabia.

"It is normal that ahead of the coming Umrah(lesser pilgrimage) Sheikh Hajji would be in possession of travelling documents deposited by those intending to make the journey," SUPKEM Secretary-General Adan Wachu told AA.

"I don't see anything sinister with that," he added.

Police have launched an investigation to determine the legality of the confiscated documents and whether the Muslim leader has any links to terror activities, a source said.

TENSIONS AFTER SCHOLAR MURDER

Sheikh Abubakar Shariff, a scholar popularly known as Makaburi, was gunned down on Tuesday by unknown attackers in the Shanzu area in Mombasa.

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.

On Thursday Muslim clerics went on local radio stations to appeal for restraint among the local youth.

Similar appeals by could be heard from the loudspeakers of Shuhadaa Mosque.

Makaburi was killed in the same manner and place as two other Muslim scholars, including his mentor and close associate Sheikh Aboud Rogo.

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

Violence had rocked Mombasa following the two killings as Muslim youth engaged in running battles with riot police.

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.

POLICE DENY WRONGDOING

Kenya Police Inspector General David Kimaiyo, for his part, has vehemently denied any relation to the killing of the Muslim cleric.

In a short Thursday statement, Kimaiyo vowed that those behind Makaburi's killing would be brought to justice.

He appealed to the public to assist police with information that could lead to the unknown assailants.

Richard Ngatia, police boss in charge of Kisauni area, where the killing had taken place, confirmed to AA that no arrest had been made by Thursday in relation to the killing.

Last Mod: 04 Nisan 2014, 16:39
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