NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 4 – Anti-riot police fired in the air and lobbed tear gas at youths who attempted to stage protests in Mombasa over Tuesday night’s killing of radical preacher Sheikh Abubakar Shariff alias Makaburi.
The youths taunted the police and threw stones at them in defiance at calls from leaders to shun any violence.
More security officers were deployed to Majengo area and particularly Masjid Shuhadaa mosque (formerly Masjid Musa) where the demonstrators converged.
Mombasa County Commander Robert Kitur had earlier announced that any planned demonstration was outlawed; saying anyone participating in it would be doing so at their own risk.
“They are only interested of drawing funds from donors and using innocent youths to destabilise the county. We are putting them on notice,” he warned.
Lobby groups led by Haki Africa had called for peaceful protests after issuing a three-day ultimatum to the government to explain Makaburi’s killing, after police denied responsibility.
“Police have denied the groups who applied for the protest licence because of security reasons…I am appealing to residents not to attend,” he said.
More police officers, including the GSU were seen patrolling strategic positions near mosques known to be controversial like the former Masjid Musa where Makaburi preached.
Makaburi was shot dead by unknown assailants on April 1 while in the company of five men. One of his colleagues was also felled by the attackers.
The cleric has been quoted several times in the past praising terrorist attacks in Kenya, saying it was the consequence of sending troops to Somalia.
Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo has since appealed to members of the public to give information regarding the killing.
Kimaiyo said detectives are investigating the motive of the killing.
“Police officers responded swiftly while investigations have been launched to determine the motive and to effect the arrest of the persons involved in this heinous attack,” a statement by Kimaiyo emphasized.
“As the police investigate this incident, the Inspector General of the National Police appeals to anyone with information regarding the incident to come forward and inform the Police or call 999 or 112.”