Kenya terror charges after Mombasa police raid mosque

A Muslim man is detained by police officers at the Masjid Mussa Mosque in Kenya"s coastal town of Mombasa February 2, 2014. Protesters were angry that the police entered the mosque

Related Stories

More than 100 people arrested in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa have appeared in court on charges of membership of Somalia's Islamist militant group, al-Shabab, police say.

Police raided a mosque in the city on Sunday, saying militants were carrying out training there.

At least two people are feared dead in ensuing riots, which lasted hours.

Kenya has been under pressure to crack down on militants blamed for a spate of attacks, including the Westgate siege.

A police officer removes a flag hanged by Muslim youths at Masjid Mussa Mosque in the coastal town of Mombasa February 2, 2014. This flag linked to al-Shabab had been raised at the mosque, previously associated with militants

Somalia's al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab Islamists have carried out a series of attacks in Kenya, in what they say is retaliation for Nairobi's decision to deploy troops to Somalia to hunt them down.

It said its militants stormed the Westgate shopping centre last year, sparking a four-day siege in which at least 67 people were killed.

In another development, four Somali men were charged with possessing explosives and attempting to commit a terrorist act after a small blast last month at the main airport in the capital, Nairobi.

Police initially said the blast was caused by an exploding light bulb.

During the Mombasa raid on the Masjid Musa mosque on Sunday, some youths raised a black flag associated with al-Shabab.

People being arrested at the mosque Some in the mosque said they were only there to pray

The 129 people arrested during the riots which followed were remanded in custody until Friday, when they will be asked to plead.

Police fired live rounds and teargas during the protests, and said they had been shot at.

Senior Mombasa police officer Henry Ondieki told the Daily Nation newspaper that youths had distributed leaflets on jihad at the mosque.

"This is not a mosque for prayers but a base for recruiting Muslim youths to engage in terrorist activities," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

Police officers firing their guns in Mombasa Police said they came under fire from protesters

The mosque is said to have attracted radical followers for a number of years.

In August 2012, unknown gunmen shot dead radical cleric Aboud Rogo, who used to preach in the same mosque.

He had been accused of recruiting and fundraising for al-Shabab. His death sparked days of rioting in the city, which has a large Muslim population.

Police seized laptops and DVDs in Sunday's raid.

One of those reported killed is said to have been a police officer.

A local rights group criticized the police action.

"There was no need for excessive force and the police should have restrained themselves to avoid bloodshed," the Associated Press quoted Khalid Hussein, an official with Haki Africa, as saying.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Africa stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • An ant and a humanMass of bodies

    Do all the world's ants really weigh as much as all the humans?


  • Taxi in Mexico Freewheeling

    How I got my driving licence without taking a test


  • Tattooed person using tabletRogue ink

    People who lost their jobs because of their tattoos


  • Indian coupleSuspicious spouses

    Is your sweetheart playing away? Call Delhi's wedding detective


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • GeoguessrWhere in the world...?

    Think you are a geography expert? Test your knowledge with BBC Travel’s interactive game

Programmes

  • StudentsClick Watch

    Could a new social network help tailor lessons to students’ needs and spot when they fall behind?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.