Mombasa imam held for ‘violent’ message from Masjid Shuhadaa
Police have obtained recordings of violent sermons delivered during Friday prayers at Masjid Shuhadaa in Majengo. The sermons are in protest over the death of Sheikh Abubakar Shariff alias Makaburi.
Makaburi was shot dead in Mombasa town last Tuesday evening. Mombasa county police boss Robert Kitur said detectives are analysing the contents of messages given to Muslim worshippers.
He said the messages urged worshippers to “cleanse Mombasa of infidels”. Speaking to the Star yesterday, Kitur said they are profiling the speaker and Imam from the mosque.
Police said the two are among “radical” preachers that said worshipers should “prepare to revenge” Makaburi’s death. Kitur said the message directed muslims to be-head the kufars (non-muslims) in the neighbourhood.
“The distressing message is aimed at inciting and plunging the county into religious violence. We are looking for the two whom we believe are from Majengo,” he said.
Kitur said two have been positively identified and their details shared among security agencies. “They will be arrested and charged with incitement to violence,” said Kitur.
During the Friday prayers the radical youth mourned the execution of Makaburi and Muslim clerics among them the late Sheikh Aboud Rogo. Makaburi was buried as a martyr in bloodied clothes without being washed at Manyimbo cemetery in Tudor where his followers prayed for Allah to grant him shahadaa (religious witness status) as he had died fighting for the religion.
They claimed he was murdered by the government security agencies, an allegation that the state has repeatedly denied. Kitur said police are still monitoring activities at Masjid Shuhadaa believed to be a hot bed for radicalisation and used by Islamic preachers to fund terrorism activities and to recruit Al-Shabaab militants.
On Friday, police deterred followers of slain radical preacher Makaburi from demonstrating against his killing. The mosque was under siege for hours by a combined team of paramilitary and regular police in anti-riot gear had who used tear gas canisters to disperse a section of the youth after the Friday prayers.
At least 300 police officers were deployed to Mombasa as the government intensified the war on terrorism. The officers drawn from General Service Unit and Administration Police units were deployed to areas identified as prone to insecurity.
The focus for the officers has been concentrated within Majengo, Kisauni and Likoni areas perceived to hold terror cells which are breeding areas for al-Shabaab followers.
“We have sufficient officers to ensure we restore peace in the county and urge those still holding firearms to surrender them,” said Kitur. Mombasa county commissioner Nelson Marwa said a permanent police station has been established at Likoni channel to deal with terror threats.
Marwa said the station has been assigned special squad that will be permanently attached at the channel under the command of an Officer Commanding Station (OCS) to ensure safety.
Reliable police sources confirmed that Likoni channel, where thousands of commuters and motorist use daily, is a soft target for terrorists. The government has announced that security measures including CCTV cameras have been restored at the channel