A Kenyan government task force has failed to establish who killed a
Muslim cleric whose assassination one year ago sparked days of deadly
violence, according to a report released Monday.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Aboud Rogo Mohammed, who had been sanctioned by the U.N. and
U.S. for supporting the al-Qaida-linked Somali Islamic extremist group
al-Shabab, was shot dead last August as he drove his wife to a hospital
in the coastal city of Mombasa.
Mohammed’s death sparked riots in Mombasa, Kenya’s second city, killing four people, including three security officers.
government panel recommended in its report that a public inquest be
opened and called for further investigation. Mohammed’s wife, Hania Said
Saggar, has blamed Kenyan police for her husband’s death. Police deny
any involvement but insist Mohammed belonged to a terror cell that
planned to bomb Kenyan targets in late 2011.
Kenya has seen a
series of extra-judicial killings over the years carried out by security
forces, according to the U.N.’s expert on extra-judicial killings.
Civil rights activists accuse Kenyan police of routinely killing
suspects against whom they cannot build a successful case in court. In
2005 Mohammed had been acquitted of murder charges in the case of the
2002 bombing of a tourist hotel near Mombasa.
The group Muslims
for Human Rights says 13 people with suspected links to terror groups
have either been killed or have disappeared under unclear circumstances
in Kenya so far this year. At least 18 people were killed or disappeared
last year, the group said.
Kenya’s director of public
prosecutions, Keriako Tobiko, formed a task force to investigate
Mohammed’s murder shortly after the cleric was killed. The panel’s
report says witnesses describe a gunman who shot Mohammed 600 meters
(yards) from a police station by firing an automatic weapon from the
passenger seat of a white Subaru without a license plate.
witness quoted in the report said that after the gunman fired on
Mohammed he shouted an expletive at a group of witnesses and used sign
language to tell them to keep quiet.
Mohammed — who openly
preached jihad against Somalia’s U.N.-backed government — lived in fear
before he was killed, according to his lawyer, Mbugua Mureithi. After
the sanctions were announced by the U.S. and U.N., Mohammed feared he
would be the target of a drone attack, Mureithi said.
vowed in late 2011 to carry out a large-scale attack in Nairobi in
retaliation for Kenya’s sending of troops into Somalia to fight the
Islamic insurgents. No such large-scale attack has taken place.
2012 U.N. report said that Mohammed tried to steer recruits toward
al-Shabab. That report described Mohamed as an extremist who advocated
the violent overthrow of Kenya’s government.