Kenya: Mombasa descends into riots as Islamist cleric is murdered two weeks after Nairobi shopping centre massacre

 

Nairobi

Religious riots sparked by the murder of a popular Islamist cleric have left four protesters dead in Mombasa, setting the city on edge two weeks after Islamist militants killed dozens of people in an audacious terror attack on a Nairobi shopping centre.

Sheikh Ibrahim Omar, a preacher at the Masjid Musa mosque which has alleged links to the Somali al-Shabaab group, was killed with three companions when the car he was in was shot at by unknown assailants on Thursday night.

His followers blamed the security services for shooting the preacher in retaliation for al-Shabaab’s attack on the Westgate mall which killed at least 67 people.

Kenya police have denied any involvement in the killing, which mirrors that of Sheikh Aboud Rogo Mohamed, a prominent cleric and alleged al-Shabaab recruiter who died when his car was shot at just over a year ago. His death, also blamed on the security services, sparked deadly riots in Mombasa.

“The police have nothing to do with the shooting. That’s not how we operate,” Robert Kitur, Mom-basa County police commander, said.

Muslim youths set fire to a Salvation Army church, burned tyres and blocked the main road into the city. Police became involved in battles with protesters, firing tear gas to disperse them. One protester was shot dead, while three others died of stab wounds.

The imam was on the road to Malindi outside Mombasa when unknown gunmen started shooting at the car. “There were gunshots and the vehicle veered off the road, I don’t know how I walked out of the vehicle alive,” Salim Abdi, sole survivor of the shooting, told Agence France Presse. “All four others I was with in the vehicle died on the spot.”

Only a few kilometres away Sheikh Rogo was shot dead in a similar attack last August. Rogo had been accused by the United States and Kenya of recruiting and funding militants from al-Shabaab, which is affiliated to al-Qa’ida. Omar was a student under Rogo, and apparently shared his hardline ideological beliefs in this city where many Muslims feel marginalised by the country’s predominantly Christian leaders.

At the Masjid Musa mosque, where both men preached, worshippers accused the police of trying to divert attention from intelligence failures at the Westgate mall.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us