Muslim cleric shot dead in Ukunda
27 December 2013, 08:07
Mombasa - A Muslim cleric was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on Wednesday night in Ukunda.
"It doesn't appear to be a normal robbery," Jack Ekakoro, Msambweni police boss said Thursday. "He appears to have been a target of the attackers."
Salim Mwasalim, as the 60-year-old preacher was known, "was shot while walking home from the nearby mosque," he said.
"We're investigating to know the motive and get the attackers," he added, saying the killers had escaped on a motorbike.
Ukunda lies on the Indian Ocean, south of Mombasa.
Another muslim cleric Hassan Mwayuyu was gunned down under similar circumstances, also by gunmen on a motorcycle, in the same region on December 6.
A police source told AFP that Salim Mwasalim was on a police surveillance list for allegedly recruiting youths to fight alongside Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab.
Several Muslim clerics have been shot dead in the past months in Kenya's predominantly Muslim Coast region.
In October, a popular but controversial preacher Sheikh Ibrahim Ismail was shot dead as he drove in the city of Mombasa, sparking riots.
His killing came at a time when religious tensions in Coast province were heightened by the attack the previous month by gunmen on Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, in which at least 67 people died.
Ibrahim Ismail was widely seen as the successor of radical cleric Sheikh Aboud Rogo Mohammed, who was shot dead a year earlier as he and his family drove past the police station in Bamburi.
The Open Society Foundation in a report in November, accused Kenya's anti-terrorism police unit of abuses, torture, forced disappearances and extra-judicial killings. It cited a series of such killings and said it was not aware of credible investigations into any of them.