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Police arrest 5 MRC members in Mombasa

16 February 2015, 08:17

Mombasa - Police on Sunday arrested five suspected members of the separatist, including a woman, in the coastal city of Mombasa.

The five, Hassan Omar Gawawa, Dhado Idd, Hamisi Omar, Gawawa Bashora and Mwanajuma Bakari, who are members of the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), were arrested in Kisauni while taking oath to join the outlawed group in a house.

Kisauni CID commander Joseph Kioko said the security officers conducted a raid on the house following intelligence report from members of the public.

"We suspect the woman, Mwanajuma, is said to be a witchdoctor who was administering the oath. We believe they were planning attacks," said Kioko who promised to arraign the suspects in court on Monday.

Kioko said they suspect the oath-taking may be part of an ongoing recruitment drive in different parts of the Coast region to cause insecurity in the tourism resort city.

Police also netted paraphernalia used for the oathing ceremony from the raid which will be used as exhibit in court.

Among the items was a hand -written note with instructions on the prayers or citations recited repeatedly by the recruits. According to detectives, the five were in the process of drinking a brown liquid when they were ambushed.

Late last year, Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) killed six MRC suspects who raided the 77 Battalion at Nyali Barracks. One KDF soldier was killed in the raid.

Also read: 3 killed, 10 arrested in MRC foiled attack

The Al-Shabaab working in cahoots with local militia group carried out the gruesome attack in Lamu where at least 60 people were killed in June and July 2014.

MRC is also charging that the coastal people's rights to land and property ownership has been violated.

But the MRC's key agenda remains largely unclear beyond the call for the separation of Mombasa and the coastal region from the rest of Kenya.

The coastal region last year witnessed several attacks and cases of insecurity with the local political networks being put on blame despite claims of responsibility by Al-Shabaab militants from Somalia.

Meanwhile, a contingent of police officers and KDF personnel on Sunday mounted roadblocks along the Mombasa-Malindi highway.

Police are still monitoring the group's activities, which was reportedly blamed for recent attacks in the coastal town of Lamu that left many dead.

The group has been accused of working with the Al-Shabaab during the attacks at the coast especially in Lamu and Tana River where locals were killed and hundreds displaced from their homes.

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- Xinhua


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