Tension high as Mombasa Muslims protest cleric’s murder

October 9, 2013 by Open Doors

Murder causes riots in days after siege of Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi

MombasaRguha / Flickr / Creative Commons

Tension remains high in Kenya’s port city of Mombasa after riots in protest at the murder of a prominent Muslim cleric on Thursday (October 3) left four dead, about eight injured and the Majengo Salvation Army Church razed on Friday.

It is just over a year since the church suffered a similar attack after the murder of another prominent cleric under similar circumstances.

Unknown gunmen sprayed bullets at the vehicle in which Ibrahim “Rogo” Omar and four others drove home after evening prayers at Musa mosque on Thursday.

The cleric and three of his passengers died. The motive for the murder is unknown. However, it appears Omar had links with Al-Shabaab, the group responsible for the four-day siege on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi that left close to 70 people dead and nearly 200 injured in September.

Omar was widely believed to have taken over from controversial cleric Aboud Rogo whose death under similar circumstances in August last year led to several days of violence in Mombasa. The Salvation Army church along with four other churches suffered extensive damage then too.

“When they burnt the church building last year, we incurred damages of over 1.5 Million Kenya Shillings (approximately $17,500). This time the damage is worse,” said Major Emmanuel Mutepe, Head of Majengo Salvation Army Church.

The events in Mombasa came in the midst of religious tension in the East African nation following the siege in Nairobi.

Abubakar Shariff Ahmed, a Muslim cleric, told AFP he blamed police for the shooting of Ibrahim Omar and said it is a “war against Islam”.

Some victims of Friday’s Mombasa riots told local media from their hospital beds that they were singled out on religious grounds. One victim receiving treatment for three stab wounds in the local hospital told local media, “I was running away from the chaos when I met a group of the rioters. They demanded to know if I was Muslim or a Christian but stabbed me as I tried to defend myself.”

Source:World Watch Monitor

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