Young Muslims set fire to a church,burned tyres and clashed with police in Kenyas main port city of Mombasa Friday,leaving at least four dead after the killing of an Islamic cleric,which his followers blamed on security forces.
The shooting of Sheikh Ibrahim Omar ignited religious tensions in the commercial and tourism hub,two weeks after Islamist militants killed at least 67 people in a raid on a Nairobi shopping mall.
The imam and three other men were found dead in a car on Mombasas on Thursday night,police said. Television images showed the vehicle sprayed with bullet holes.
Police dismissed allegations by Omars associates and people who attended his mosque that the shooting was part of a crackdown on Muslims after the mall attack or any wider campaign.
Riot police fired gunshots and teargas to break up the rioters who had set alight a Salvation Army church and blocked a main road,a Reuters witness said.
The Kenyan Red Cross said four people had died,all with gunshot wounds.
The worst of the running battles with police took place in Mombasas downtrodden Saba Saba neighbourhood,where traders shuttered their shops and residents fled for safety. An uneasy calm fell over Mombasa three hours after the clashes began.
Omar was killed on the main road to the resort town of Malindi,a few hundred metres from where another firebrand cleric,Aboud Rogo,was shot dead in his vehicle in August 2012 in a strikingly similar attack.
Al-Amin Kimathi,head of a Muslim forum,said the police were exploiting public anger over Westgate as a cover to extend what he believed was a campaign of killings.
Police spokeswoman Zipporah Mboroki said there was no truth to the accusations of a wider campaign. Mombasa county police chief Robert Kitur dismissed accusations of police involvement In Omars killing. The police have nothing to do with the shooting. Thats not how we operate, he told reporters.
Days after mall carnage,loot slur on army
NAIROBI: Mannequins were stripped clean,jewellery cases smashed,dozens of cash registers cracked open and at least one member of the Kenyan security services arrested with a bloody wallet. The looting of Westgate mall appeared to have the scope and organisation of a large-scale military operation. More and more Kenyans believe the soldiers methodically cleaned out the mall,and that the barrages of gunfire ringing out for days were being directed not at the last of the militants but at safes and padlocks to blast them open. Some business leaders even question whether the Kenyan Army deliberately prolonged the crisis to give themselves extra time to steal. NYT