Kenyan clerics condemn violence in Mombasa, urge public to remain calm

By Bosire Boniface in Wajir

August 29, 2012

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Kenyan police said Wednesday morning (August 29th) that calm had been restored in Mombasa after the killing of Islamist cleric Aboud Rogo Mohammed on Monday sparked violent protests in the port city.

For two days, protestors vandalised churches, torched vehicles and demonstrated in the streets. One civilian was hacked to death on Monday while three police officers were killed and a dozen were injured when protestors threw a grenade a police truck on Tuesday.

"We do not have any problems this morning.... Even public transport is back to normal business and shops have been opened," Coast Province Police Chief Aggrey Adoli said according to AFP. "We have made adequate deployment for street patrols to maintain peace."

Adoli told Sabahi that at least 14 civilians and 12 police officers were injured in the clashes. He said at least two journalists were among the injured as protesters turned their anger on reporters.

Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to contain the violence and restore calm to the city.

Adoli said 24 people had been arrested in connection with the protests. "Some people are taking advantage of the protest to loot, but we are conducting ourselves with restraint to restore normalcy," he told Sabahi.

The suspects were charged on Wednesday with unlawful assembly and riot, according to Senior Resident Magistrate Elvis Michieka. They denied the charges and will remain in detention until September 3rd when their application for bail will be determined.

Mohammed, who was popularly known as Rogo, was considered the "main ideological leader" of Kenya's al-Hijra group, also known as the Muslim Youth Centre, according to the United Nations, which considers the group a close ally of al-Shabaab in Kenya.

He was also on international sanctions lists for "engaging in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security or stability of Somalia", specifically for recruiting and fundraising for al-Shabaab.

Mohammed was driving with his family when gunmen opened fire on his vehicle at close range, witnesses said.

Kenyan government launches investigation into Rogo assassination

"The killing of Rogo is unacceptable to the government and I have instructed police to investigate the incident," Prime Minister Raila Odinga told reporters on Tuesday from his office in Nairobi. "As a government, we do not accept wanton murders."

Odinga flew to Mombasa on Wednesday and called on the nation to come together and stop the violence.

"We are not going to allow outside forces to incite Kenyans to create religious war," Odinga said according to AFP.

"We have many political enemies but we want to see coexistence among all the communities living in Mombasa," Odinga said after meeting with religious leaders in the majority Muslim town, which also has a significant Christian population.

Human Rights Watch called for an independent investigation into the killing and subsequent riots.

"The killing of Aboud Rogo is a serious crime that needs speedy, independent and impartial investigation," said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "In the meantime, police should continue to stick within the law in confronting the riots sparked by Rogo's death."

"So far the police appear to have exercised admirable restraint in confronting the insecurity in Mombasa," Lefkow said. "Now they need to use precision and intelligence to pursue the people who caused the violence, avoiding indiscriminate actions."

Muslim and Christian leaders condemn sectarian violence

Religious leaders condemned the killing of Rogo and the attacks on churches and businesses by youth protesting the assassination.

Abdulrahman Wandati, executive director of the Muslim Consultative Council, said the protesters are misplacing their anger on churches and other institutions.

"No bona fide Muslim leadership would condone attacks on places of worship and threatening and harming other people. Why the protesters are targeting churches is beyond anyone's comprehension," he told Sabahi.

He said the government should come up with strategies to include clerics in appealing to the protesters as it investigates the killing.

Sheikh Juma Ngao, chairman of the Kenya Muslims National Advisory Council, told Sabahi that attacks on churches is a sacrilege and against the teaching of Islam.

"The Qu'ran clearly forbids attacking churches, synagogues and other places of worship for whatever grievances," he said. "It is haram [forbidden], and if someone wants to do [such acts], those who are near them should stop them."

"Those using Rogo's death to steal and attack churches cannot claim to be Muslims. They are criminals and should be arrested," he said.

"Violent protests over someone who has died will not bring him back and we appeal to the protesters to let the government continue with the investigations," Ngao said.

He said the government should arrest people who want to incite sectarian violence. The government should also make public its findings on who committed the grenade attacks on churches and other public places over the past eight months, he said.

Christian leaders also condemned the violence and the killing of Rogo. They asked their faithful to observe restraint as the government handles the riots.

Reverend Canon Peter Karanja, general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), told Sabahi that there has been looting and extensive damages at Jesus Celebration Centre in Buxton, the NCCK office, the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church in Ziwani, the Mombasa Pentecostal Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church in Ziwani and the Salvation Army Church in Majengo.

"The NCCK strongly condemns the atrocious and unwarranted attacks on five churches and our own office in Mombasa today, during which innocent worshipers were injured," Karanja said in a statement.

"We have completely failed to understand the logic that made the demonstrators associate the heinous murder of Rogo with the churches and other properties belonging to innocent Kenyans," he said. "We will not allow ourselves to sink into sectarian violence."

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Reader's Comments

  • mimim
    October 31, 2012 @ 04:53:12AM

    WHY KILL OUR LEADER?... YOU MUST REGRET THE ACT OF THE MURDER OF SHEIKH ROGO.. IT SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD THAT IT HAS HAD BAD EFFECTS ON HIS CHILD.. WHY DON’T YOU SEE THIS CRUELTY BUT YOU EVENTUALLY SEE THE GREAT EVIL COMMITTED BY PROTESTERS?... THIS BRUTAL CRUELTY OF KILLING THE SHEIKH EVEN IN FRONT OF HIS FAMILY.. IN FRONT OF A YOUNG CHILD DON’T YOU SEE IT AS BEING BIG..

  • abdallah kilyawape
    October 30, 2012 @ 10:46:20AM

    In my opinion they must have their own reasons maybe they have had conflict among themselves for a long time... but even then you can’t take up the law and kill someone... a totally innocent person... peace comes not but by the edge of the sword..... let us preserve peace in order to benefit the world.... let us avoid sins of will... may Allah save us Africans.... amin

  • Daudi
    October 30, 2012 @ 07:09:45AM

    It’s clear that some religious leaders teach wrong things and incite young people to start religious wars. Is it normal for religious leaders to get revenge by killing other innocent people? It is clear that the teachings and their influence on those who caused chaos did not have good ideals but just incitement. Let us focus on the future where we are headed!

  • abel
    October 21, 2012 @ 10:15:41AM

    Religious leaders especially ISLAMIC LEADERS, what is happening in the mosques? Don’t you teach believers about preserving peace? Try and do that, because I don’t see the reason of reaching where we are heading. Condolences to Kenya, Tanzania and other places with such chaos/

  • Onesmo
    October 20, 2012 @ 05:32:25PM

    Let’s keep praying to God

  • laela sumbawanga
    October 20, 2012 @ 09:51:43AM

    My Muslim and Christian brothers let us safeguard our peace as all people let us be tolerant of one another in the big issue of religion because defaming your brother is creating lack of peace.

  • Mohammedi Gumbo
    October 20, 2012 @ 05:10:58AM

    Basically we are asking religious leaders to prevent those chaos, because leaders are the ones who have great influence over all that is happening at the moment.

  • sadiki m. suleiman
    October 19, 2012 @ 07:36:51AM

    These murders are happening when the world still needs people to respect one another in regard to their beliefs be among those who prevent religious animosity let us tolerate one another in matters of faith.

  • Masha
    October 19, 2012 @ 03:57:15AM

    We must know that it’s not up to us to take revenge so killing a human being is a mistake. Let us pray to God because religious wars are bad.

  • eric
    October 18, 2012 @ 08:55:14AM

    Honestly we need God’s wisdom, because incidents of burning churches are flourishing, but on the other hand I don’t see any reason why Muslims are burning churches. To these who are burning churches, is it that those involved are Christians?

  • jonathan sanga
    October 18, 2012 @ 06:20:09AM

    Tanzania is a peaceful country. Tranquility is needed

  • chunkula
    October 15, 2012 @ 04:35:46AM

    Folks where are we headed? Every now and then there is violence linked to RELIGION let us reform

  • ELIAS LAIZER
    October 14, 2012 @ 02:38:16PM

    It’s truly disheartening that a country like Kenya has religious violence, when it is a country that is rapidly growing in matters of development. I request that this issue of the MURDER of this religious leader be handled very wisely and the law take its course. I also request the government to set up a special commission to conduct an in-depth investigation in order to reveal those who were involved in that issue of murder, because they are there and they will definitely be revealed because they are known. The blood of a human being always speaks from the earth it will reveal those who were involved. I urge Muslims to be peaceful so that the law takes its course.

  • DISMAS MALISA
    October 14, 2012 @ 01:06:21PM

    This situation is frightening. I request the Kenyan government to sit with religious leaders, Muslims and Christians and have talks to bring peace to Kenya. GOD BLESS KENYA AND HER PEOPLE

  • ramadhani muhidini shabani
    October 13, 2012 @ 12:56:57PM

    Truly, be patient and not use anger. Instead let us also forgive one another for all that happened..

  • Mohammedy Gumbo kutoka tz
    September 18, 2012 @ 04:45:29AM

    In my opinion first of all the reason for the violence which occurred should have been established, because there must be a reason.

  • Joseph A. Amnaay
    September 14, 2012 @ 04:35:15AM

    I’m truly saddened by the death of Sheikh Rogo. I’m also saddened by the act of people burning churches and destroying property. It is good now to use state machinery so that the law can take its course. Let us act in wisdom regarding those matters, let us not be quick in taking the law in our hands.

  • Muslim Mubarak
    September 10, 2012 @ 03:20:20AM

    Truly, Sheikh Rogo is a model to be emulated by our sheikhs in Africa. Those who wronged him should know that they have favored him by making him die a martyr and this is not a small matter, it is serious. Those who were involved in this plot in any way should know that there is a day when they will meet their Lord and their life in the tomb will be very distressing. Indeed even that investigation will not establish the truth because those were plans that had already been laid, but killing Sheikh Rogo is not the end of Islam as the Prophet of ALLAH himself said in his khutba,

  • Boniface Kazimoto
    September 9, 2012 @ 01:54:44PM

    Surely these are the last days, let’s pray for God's wisdom, as these murders are not for nothing, there must be something wrong spiritually!

  • jacob kingazi
    September 8, 2012 @ 02:28:04PM

    Kenyan leaders need to review the state of relationships among different religions and how they can bring together leaders in a suitable manner. This will alleviate the situation of bad relationships among followers of different religions to get to grips with the reality that seeks to emerge which will bring chaos in future and derail the efforts to maintain peace among Kenyans. Something seriously needs to be done. Kenyan leaders look at this as a problem that you need to work on very closely and find solutions

  • josiah arsenal
    September 8, 2012 @ 04:00:10AM

    My Kenyan brothers let us stay calm when something happens because when you respond to something through revenge you also hurt someone who was not involved for example who is sure that the person who killed that man is a Christian as you are burning churches people worship in who do not know anything about that murder? What if they also decided to respond by burning the mosque will Kenya be habitable? Defend your faith without fostering hostility towards a certain group if someone is called Ramadhani it does not mean that he is a Muslim who follows the doctrine found in the Quran and if someone is called Peter that his acts follow biblical doctrine

  • Bika
    September 2, 2012 @ 03:13:51PM

    whatever the case i believe whoever does any wrong should be trialed not killed that way. we know many leaders worldwide including george bush and many more who should be trialed for many things including terrorising countries and its rightful citizens.the same way they bad mouth muslims is the same way they laugh at those who fall for thier lies and conspiracy. wake up people think twice. "EVERY DOG HAS ITS DAY".

  • Askar
    September 2, 2012 @ 01:20:50PM

    The killing of an innocent muslim is greater than the property damage. Therefore, we must not complain of the loss of financial matters but protest against illegal killing and assassinataions against relegious leaders who have been charged and then killed.

  • RAJAPPAN RAMESH
    September 2, 2012 @ 11:08:22AM

    It is surprising that we are in the 21st century world and we have been to advance technology, still riot is happening will be shameful to human being. Each one should be inhale the piece air for public piece.

  • owen odhiambo
    September 1, 2012 @ 04:25:46AM

    Let us have peace in Kenya and avoid bad temptetions,from Satan.Let us join hands togather and build our country.

  • MOHAMED MILANZI
    August 31, 2012 @ 11:40:35AM

    The government of Kenya is directly involved in the death of Sheikh Rogo. It has also killed Sheikh Samir. The government should turn over the killers to Muslims. So that revenge is taken. It should also apologize to Muslims for getting involved in murder.

  • salmini
    August 31, 2012 @ 11:25:27AM

    This is misleading information because it does not say the truth about issues and yet matters are quite clear about the death of Sheikh Mohamed Rogo. But because all the media outlets belong to you, you will not stop lying to the public about the truth but Insha’Allah it will be proven by whatever way.

  • sarah
    August 31, 2012 @ 04:46:01AM

    It’s true to say there are some radical in Kenya who want to give the Islamic religion a bad name, it’s also true to say that Muslim have been oppressed and picked on in case of a terrorist incidence or attack. Not all Islam are involved in terror activities, as a matter of fact Islam is a religion just like any other and it’s a peaceful religion which encourages peace and unity for all. In a country like Kenya which have many religion it will be highly in appropriate to marginalize one particular religion and term all of them as terrorist. One thing all Kenya should understand is Kenya is for Kenya and it’s only by respecting each other religion can a country like Kenya achieve peace. We need not rule out every Islam to ne a terrorist and subject them to oppression and marginalization. It’s only a small fraction of the Muslims who are terrorists and those who practice such acts are misguided into believing they are on the right path but this does not make every Muslim living in Kenya a bad person. Everyone needs to be given a chance to practice their religion in peace without feeling as a target of the next terror raid by the authorities.

  • علي جبريل الكتبي
    August 30, 2012 @ 05:19:38PM

    Dear webmasters, I would like to publish some articles on your website pertaining to current affairs in Kenya, particularly the recent events that occured in Mombasa. As such, what is the proper course of action to take for this purpose, knowing that I don’t have your email address? Thank you.

  • علي جبريل الكتبي
    August 30, 2012 @ 03:41:07PM

    The government of Kenya has to deal severely with those people who are causing chaos in Mombasa.

  • jama cabdiweli cali
    August 30, 2012 @ 03:44:03AM

    That is inlegal for the killing religious man as vadalising with out warrant unknown gunmen the kenyan government must indepedently invistigate that operation and any behind it to stop riots based on religions for the two community Muslim and Christian to aviod reliogious war break out in the kenya if not kenyan goverment clam situation leads disqualification.

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