Kenyan Muslims protest police killing of clerics

Sheikhs Hassan Black and Hassan Muhumed were both killed late Sunday by police and Kenya Defense Forces, who accused them of planning attacks in Mandera.

Kenyan Muslims protest police killing of clerics

World Bulletin / News Desk

Police in Mandera, a Kenyan town on the border with Somalia, on Monday dispersed angry youth who had taken to the streets to protest the killing of two Muslim clerics.

"The protest was quelled by police," Abdullahi Alas, a local resident, told Anadolu Agency by phone.

"I could hear sporadic gunfire over and about Meta Meta estate and the bus terminus in the heart of Mandera town," he said.

The young protesters, many of whom were supporters of the slain clerics, had barricaded the main road leading into Mandera with burning tires.

Sheikhs Hassan Black and Hassan Muhumed were both killed late Sunday by police and Kenya Defense Forces, who accused them of planning attacks in Mandera.

"I have been told by people close to the two that they were under the radar of the police," said Alas, who had been a follower of the two slain men.

"Their only crime was to preach Islam," he claimed.

Supporters believe that the two clerics were victims of an extrajudicial killing.

Kenya Defense Forces spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir said the two men had been linked to Somalia's Al-Shabaab rebel group.

"The two had been ordered to stop by the police but instead threw a grenade at the officers," Chirchir told AA.

"The grenades failed to explode and they took off in their vehicle," he added. "Police, together with Kenya Defense Forces, tracked them down just outside Mandera town, shooting them dead."

Mandera, which has witnessed several recent attacks, is located less than 100 meters from the Somali town of Buulahawo, which in recent months has seen intense fighting between Al-Shabaab rebels and Somali troops.

Abdullahi Alas, another supporter of the slain clerics, lamented widespread stereotypes about Muslims.

"Anyone preaching Islam here is seen as a threat to the government and an anti-Christian, which isn't so," he told AA.

"Some Muslim scholars have now become targets."

MP Salah Maalim urged authorities to respect people.

"The last thing we want to see is Mandera turn into another Eastleigh, with swoops and random arrests of the locals," he told AA after police went door to door in search of suspects and weapons.

Eastleigh is a Somali populated neighborhood of Nairobi locally known as "Little Mogadishu."

It was the main target of a massive security sweep that has seen thousands of people, mostly Muslims, detained for screening.

"We expect the police to show respect to Mandera residents and abide by the rule of law, as we try to deal with the fighting overflowing from Somalia and ongoing inter-clan clashes," said MP Maalim.

Last Mod: 03 Haziran 2014, 10:08
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