Africa

Kenyan city of Mombasa sees deadly clashes after mosque closure

Policemen stand guard outside the Masjid Swafaa mosque after they conducted a raid in the Kisauni area of the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa November 19, 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The clashes followed the closure of the Swafaa mosque in the Kisauni area of Mombasa

At least one person has died in the Kenyan city of Mombasa after police clashed with protesters who tried to enter a closed-off mosque.

It follows the deaths of at least four people in related violence earlier this week.

Police clashed with youths who tried to enter the Swafaa mosque, which had been closed since Thursday.

Swafaa and three other mosques have been shut due to what police say are links to radical extremists.

A police raid on Swafaa mosque on Wednesday resulted in a grenade, petrol bombs and other weapons being found.

A city-wide crackdown on groups allegedly linked to the Somali militant Islamist group, al-Shabab, began earlier this week.

Hundreds of people have been arrested so far, and some youths have launched revenge attacks against police.

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Media captionThe BBC'S Emmanuel Igunza reports from the scene of Wednesday's raid

Muslim clerics and human rights groups have condemned the raids, which they say will only reinforce feelings that police are targeting the entire Muslim community in Mombasa, a coastal city which is a popular tourist destination.

In February, a similar raid at the Musa mosque led to violent protests. The mosque was once controlled by the radical cleric Sheikh Abud Rogo, who was killed in 2012.

There have been a number of bombings and shootings in Mombasa since 2011 when Kenyan troops entered Somalia to attack al-Shabab.

The group was behind an attack in September 2013 on the Westgate shopping mall in the capital, Nairobi, which killed 67 people.

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