Friday, August 31, 2012
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki called for "tolerance" in the port of
Mombasa Thursday, as he visited the troubled city after days of violence
sparked by the killing of a radical Muslim cleric.
maintain peace, which is the foundation of democracy," Kibaki said to
crowds in Mombasa. "We must embrace tolerance and co-exist peacefully as
Authorities insist security has been restored.
Hundreds of armed officers have been deployed to quash stone-throwing
rioters who took to the streets in their hundreds following the
assassination of preacher Aboud Rogo Mohammed on Monday.
tightened security, we have enough security forces," said regional
police chief Aggrey Adoli, speaking a day after attackers hurled a
grenade at a police truck, wounding at least four officers. "We have not
had problems today."
The attack, in which the Red Cross said one
person was killed, was the second such blast since riots broke out on
Monday, with an earlier grenade killing three policemen on Tuesday.
flew to Mombasa to open an agricultural trade fair, a longstanding
engagement, but one which is also viewed as a government effort to show
confidence in security in the city, Kenya's main port and a key tourist
For two days, angry youths fought running battles with
police, looting churches and torching cars. But Muslim leaders said
Thursday the situation had improved, with many businesses closed during
the rioting now open.
"Things are much calmer after last night's
house to house searches by the police... Mombasa is slowly returning to
normal," said Khalid Hussein, head of the local organisation Muslims for
"All we can do is pray that police do not go out on
a revenge mission since some of their own have fallen victim to the
violence. This might provoke the rioters again."
cleric -- popularly known as Rogo -- was on US and UN sanctions lists
for allegedly supporting neighbouring Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab
Rogo had fiercely opposed Kenya's invasion of southern
Somalia last year to attack Shebab bases. The United States and United
Nations had accused him of recruiting and fundraising for the extremist
Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Wednesday visited
Mombasa, where he called for the nation to come together to stop
"We are not going to allow outside forces to
incite Kenyans to create religious war," Odinga said, after meeting with
religious leaders from the majority-Muslim region, which also has a
significant Christian population.
Foreign embassies -- including
those of Australia, Britain, France and the United States -- have issued
travel warnings for Mombasa, where several large tourist resorts are
Rogo was killed Monday in Mombasa when unidentified gunmen
opened fire on his vehicle as he was driving with his wife and children,
leaving it riddled with bullets.
Images released by his
supporters showed his bloody corpse slumped behind the wheel. His wife
and children reportedly survived the attack.
Human Rights Watch
has called for a probe into the killing, noting it "follows the
abductions and deaths earlier this year of several other people charged
with recruitment and other offences related to the Shebab."
supporters accused the security forces of murdering him, calling his
death an "extra-judicial killing". The police reject the claim and have
appealed for help in hunting down those responsible.