Africa

Kenya cleric Rogo riots: Mombasa death toll rises

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Media captionNajib Balala, MP for Mvita, Mombasa says the recent violence is a "new trend"

The death toll from violent protests in Kenya's second city, Mombasa, over the killing of a radical Muslim cleric has risen to four, police have said.

They include a civilian and three policemen who had a grenade hurled at them.

Correspondents say there is now a heavy police presence in Mombasa after the two days of rioting over the murder of Aboud Rogo Mohammed by unknown gunmen.

He was accused by the US and UN of backing Islamist fighters in Somalia.

Foreign embassies, including those of the UK and France, have issued travel warnings for Mombasa, a popular tourist destination.

'Drive-by shooting'

Muslim youths were involved in running battles with police, burning shops and attacking churches as they vented their fury over Mr Rogo's killing.

"We have lost two more officers, they succumbed to injuries in the night," regional police chief Aggrey Adoli is quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Aboud Rogo Mohammed was shot in front of his family

On Tuesday, one officer was killed and more than a dozen wounded when a grenade was thrown into a police vehicle, while a civilian was killed on Monday.

The BBC's Kevin Mwachiro in Mombasa says the city is now calm but there are unconfirmed reports of clashes in the poor residential area of Majengo as police carry out door-to-door searches.

Mr Rogo was killed in a drive-by shooting in the mainly Muslim city.

Some of the rioters accused the authorities of being behind Mr Rogo's shooting, saying he had been the victim of a "targeted assassination".

However, police spokesman Charles Owino was quoted as saying that the Somali militant Islamist group al-Shabab killed the cleric in an attempt "to galvanise support among the youth".

Mr Rogo was on US and UN sanction lists for allegedly supporting the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab group in neighbouring Somalia.

The UN Security Council imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on him in July, saying he had provided "financial, material, logistical or technical support to al-Shabab".

It accused him of being the "main ideological leader" of Kenya's al-Hijra group, also known as the Muslim Youth Centre, which is viewed as a close ally of al-Shabab.

He had "used the extremist group as a pathway for radicalisation and recruitment of principally Swahili-speaking Africans for carrying out violent militant activity in Somalia", the UN added.

In 2005, Mr Rogo was cleared on murder charges over the 2002 attack on a hotel where Israeli tourists were staying, which killed 12 people.

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