National
Mombasa youths burn church after imam killing
Publish Date: Oct 05, 2013
Mombasa youths burn church after imam killing
The Salvation Army church after it was set on fire by protesters as riots broke out after the killing of a Muslim cleric in Mombasa on October 4, 2013. Four rioters died
  • mail
  • img
newvision

MOMBASA - Young Muslims set fire to a church, burned tyres and clashed with police in Kenya's main port city of Mombasa , leaving at least four people dead after the killing of an Islamic cleric which his followers blamed on security forces.

The shooting of Sheikh Ibrahim Omar ignited religious tensions in the commercial and tourism hub, two weeks after Islamist militants killed at least 67 people in a raid on a Nairobi shopping mall.

The imam and three other men were found dead in a car on Mombasa's outskirts on Thursday night, police said. Television images showed the vehicle sprayed with bullet holes.

Police dismissed allegations by Omar's associates and people who attended his mosque that the shooting was part of a crackdown on Muslims after the mall attack or any wider campaign.

Riot police fired gunshots and teargas to break up the rioters who had set alight a Salvation Army church and blocked a main road, a Reuters witness said.

The Kenyan Red Cross said four people had died, all with gunshot wounds.

The worst of the running battles with police took place in Mombasa's downtrodden Saba Saba neighbourhood, where traders shuttered their shops and residents fled for safety. An uneasy calm fell over Mombasa three hours after the clashes began.

ACCUSATIONS

Omar was killed on the main road to the resort town of Malindi, a few hundred metres (yards) from where another firebrand cleric, Aboud Rogo, was shot dead in his vehicle in August 2012 in a strikingly similar attack.

Al-Amin Kimathi, head of the Muslim Human Rights Forum, said the police were exploiting public anger over Westgate as a cover to extend what he believed was a campaign of killings.

"It is a continuation of what has been happening," said Kimathi.

Police spokeswoman Zipporah Mboroki said there was "no truth" to the accusations of a wider campaign.

Mombasa county police chief Robert Kitur dismissed accusations of police involvement In Omar's killing. "The police have nothing to do with the shooting. That's not how we operate," he told reporters.

The United States and Kenya had accused Rogo of recruiting and fund-raising for Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants - the group that claimed responsibility for last month's mall raid.

Moderate Muslim leaders in Kenya said Omar had studied under Rogo and was nicknamed 'Rogo junior' after he publicly espoused the same hardline ideology of his former mentor.

Both imams were popular among youths in Mombasa and along Kenya's Indian Ocean coastline where many Muslims feel marginalised by the predominantly Christian government.

Rogo's death last year unleashed deadly riots in Mombasa.

The assault on the Westgate mall was the worst militant strike on Kenyan soil since al Qaeda bombed the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi in 1998. The raid shocked Kenyans and the world and has raised questions over intelligence failures.

"They (authorities) have panicked because of their own laxity which killed Kenyans at Westgate. Now they are trying to save face by sacrificing innocent Muslims ... We are not going to take this lightly," said Hatib Suleiman, 21, who prays at Omar's Masjid Mussa mosque.

Reuters
 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Terror suspects linked to Al Shabaab further remanded
Police are yet to conclude investigations in a case involving 10 terror suspects linked to Al Shabaab arrested last month from Kisenyi in Kampala....
Rwanda backtracks on special Ebola screening of travellers from US and Spain
Rwanda will no longer have special Ebola-screening measures imposed on travelers arriving from the United States and Spain...
7 Makerere students detained over demo
At least seven students who were arrested during the Monday Makerere University demostration against an attempted graduation fees increment face charges....
Kagame allies seek vote to allow him a third term
A campaign for Rwandan President Paul Kagame to seek a third term has begun with allies suggesting a constitutional change to allow him to run in 2017....
U.S commends Uganda over Peace Corps program
The United States (U.S) government has commended Uganda for its long-term partnership between U.S Peace Corps and the Ugandan people which has enabled Peace Corps volunteers facilitate...
UBOS: census results for December 2015
The results of August national housing census will be released in December next yaer, Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) has announced....
Was Oscar Pistorius' 5 year sentence fair and just?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter