Muslim leaders call for end to Mombasa riots

National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF) chairman Abdullahi Abdi during a news conference at the Laico Regency Hotel, Nairobi August 29, 2012. NAMLEF called for an end to the violent protests that have rocked Mombasa since the murder of radical preacher Sheikh Aboud Rogo.

Muslim leaders have called for an end to the violent protests that have rocked Mombasa since the murder of radical preacher Sheikh Aboud Rogo.

The leaders under the National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF) banner accused the police of executing the fiery preacher and called for speedy investigations into his death.

“We condemn the extra judicial killing of Sheikh Rogo. We are not Sheikh Rogo’s advocates but he is entitled to life. He has been taken to court several times and found innocent,” said NAMLEF chairman Abdullahi Abdi at a press conference in Nairobi Wednesday.

The leaders, who included cabinet minister Mohammed Elmi and MPs Najib Balala, Aden Duale, Abdikadir Mohamed and Mohamed Dor maintained that Sheikh Rogo was the seventh Muslim leader to be executed by security agents in recent months.

They cited the murder of another preacher, Samir Hashim Khan, and the disappearance of Mohamed Bekhit Hassan and four others in April this year as part of a wider campaign by security agents to execute Muslim leaders.

“We are seeing the hand of the Americans in the killing of Muslim leaders,” said Mr Abdi.

The leaders castigated the police for deploying the dreaded General Service Unit (GSU) squad to Majengo area in Mombasa to quell the violent demonstrations.

“We have heard that they have sent the GSU to Majengo where they are hurling tear gas canisters in people’s houses and flushing out men. Why are they targeting innocent people sitting in their houses? They should deal with the ones who are engaging in violence on the streets,” said Mr Balala.

They, however, condemned the killing of three prison warders and the burning of churches, saying that Islam did not condone attacks on places of worship.

“This is not a war between Muslims and Christians, it is war against crime,” the Mvita MP stated.

The leaders spoke only a day after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Keriako Tobiko appointed Assistant Deputy DPP Jacob Ondari to coordinate the team that will investigate the murder.

The team comprises representatives from his office, the Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA), the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), the Commission on Administration of Justice and the Police.

The move by the DPP appears aimed at winning the confidence of Kenyans in the investigations into Sheikh Rogo’s murder after the preacher’s wife, Haniya Said Sagal accused the police of killing her husband.

Mr Tobiko called for “comprehensive, independent and expeditious investigation into the murder with a view of apprehending and bringing to justice the perpetrators of the crime.”

“The team will submit the resultant investigation file to the DPP within 14 days with findings and recommendations thereon,” he added.