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Uhuru mourns dead cleric, vows to hunt down killers

10 June 2014, 16:20 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - President Uhuru Kenyatta has mourned dead Muslim cleric Sheikh Mohammed Idris and said that the government will hunt down his killers.

Idris was gunned down in cold blood in Mombasa Tuesday morning whilst on his way to attending prayers.

His killers are yet to be found, police have said.

Whilst reacting to his shock murder, president Kenyatta said that the dead Sheikh was a calm man, a person of integrity and a pursuer of noble ways.

" In this hour of sorrow, and on behalf of the people and Government of Kenya, I convey my deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the Muslim Community, the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, the family and friends of the late Sheikh Idris,” President Kenyatta said.

He commended him for leading a peaceful life and being an example to society at large.

" Sheikh Idris was at the forefront in the fight against the radicalisation of the youth and therefore his death is a big blow to the country’s efforts to stop religious extremism, he added.

He went on to further state that his government will do all in its power to find his killers.

" We have instituted investigations into his death and promise that action will be taken to find the perpetrators of this crime, he added.

Human rights activists allege that the government is behind a long string of killings of Muslim leaders. Sheik Aboud Rogo Mohammed was killed in August 2012. Sheik Ibrahim Ismael was killed in October 2013. In April gunmen shot and killed Abubakar Shariff Ahmed, known as Makaburi, near a mosque.

All those murders remain unsolved to date.

But while the three previous slayings of Muslim leaders were against men seen as radical and tied to extremists, Idris was known for opposing radicalism in the Muslim community, a fact that opens up the possibility he may have been targeted by a religious extremist and not a government agent.

Also unlike the previous killings, Idris' death attracted immediate statements of condolence from top political leaders.

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