April 16, 2014
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Anti-riot police engage in running battles with rowdy Mombasa youths

Following yesterday’s death of the Al-Qaeda linked Islamist clergy Sheikh Aboud Rogo Mohammed, two Kenyan police officers serving in the antiriot police unit are reported to have been killed alongside a civilian when rioters hurled a hand grenade at the officers while undertaking patrol. The ongoing riots which have entered day 2 today in the Coastal city of Mombasa have now had most of its sections characterized with civil unrest and warfare activities similar to what was witnessed in the 2007/08 post election violence.

The rioters mainly composed of youths are said to have fired at the police officers at Kisauni as they were alighting from their truck which is normally used to ferry them around the towns in the area. Moments before assessing the area, the youths began firing at the police whose main role was to quell the clashes and foster peace in the affected areas. Using machine guns, the angry youths engaged the police in a fierce shootout before hurling a hand grenade at the police into the police truck, killing two officers on the spot. A civilian casualty is said to have succumbed to injuries moments after the explosion which left 16 other police officers seriously wounded.

According to initial reports confirmed early yesterday, the police distanced themselves from having any involvement in the shooting of the Muslim clergy. The arising dispute however has been brought about by the Muslim youth alleged to be Al-Shabaab sympathizers who claim that the Kenya Police have direct link to the shooting of the Al-Qaeda linked member.

Most of the city streets in the area usually characterized with a beehive of activities of visiting tourists was today deserted with all shops shattered following yesterday’s ugly scenes of looting that were witnessed in the wake of the riots. It’s reported that one of the banks in the area was set ablaze yesterday after being looted by the raged youths. A total of four churches were looted with two of them being set ablaze during the incident clearly indicating that the militia are on a mission meant to bring the Muslim and the Christian community into logger heads; Something which has been faced with stiff opposition from both the Kenyan Muslim clergy and the Christian community who both alienate themselves from any aggravating intensions of the terror links.

On other related events, two reporters are said to have been caught up in the mayhem of the unraveling incidents at the areas. While on line of duty, reporter Jane Kiyo and Michael Majengo who both work for China Central Television (CCTV) are reported to have been attacked by some of the rowdy youths in the areas of Majengo in Mombasa. They’re said to have been caught up in the melee which involved the youth in the area as they engaged the police in running battles. Some other two civilians are reported to have been stubbed near the Salvation Army regional headquarters in Mombasa.

As the ongoing vandalism and protests continue escalating in the country’s tourism hotspot region, Members of Parliament and government officials have put the acting Internal Security Minister on the spot over the laxity of security officials in ensuing that the perpetrators of the attacks are brought to book and apprehended. On the other hand, Kenya’s Premier Raila Odinga has come out strongly condemning the shootings and the current attacks brewing in the Coastal area.

He was categorical though that a press briefing would soon be made concerning the matter on the government’s stand. This emerge as Church leaders scrapped plans of undertaking peaceful march across the city streets to signify solidarity and preach peace to all faiths in the country. They have for time and again refuted claims of being triggered in any schism with their Muslim brothers and sisters.

Most notably though is the fact that the usual travel advisory warnings haven’t been issued so far as the tourism  sector in the area has relatively been affected. If not maintained, the unrest could have its devastating effects being felt over to the neighboring Uganda and Rwanda counties which are landlocked and rely on the imports which stream in via the Mombasa Port.

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Roggers Momata is Newstime Africa's East Africa Editor

Roggers Momata
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